When LeBron James inked that massive 2-year extension, Lakers fans knew that they'd get to enjoy his services for at least a little while longer. Still, it has some wondering what might come next for him after those two years are up.
While there are plenty of teams with a lot to offer LeBron, NBA insider Marc Stein confirms that there's only one reason why he'd consider swapping jerseys at this stage of his career.
This has nonetheless been a hopeful week in Lakerdom.
As I wrote earlier this month shortly before James became eligible for the extension on Aug. 4, league sources have been consistent for weeks in projecting that only the opportunity to play with Bronny two years from now would spur James to push for an L.A. exit at this stage of his career. James won a bubble title with the Lakers in 2019-20, sits just 1,325 points shy of Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the top spot on the league’s all-time scoring charts and is known to be the patriarch of a family that is exceedingly comfortable and content in Southern California.
Yet it is undeniably reassuring for the Lakers to get James’ signature with nearly six weeks to go before training camp opens when he faced no deadline to sign until June 30, ensuring that rookie coach Darvin Ham can focus on everything else that needs fixing — primarily how to employ Westbrook if the Lakers are unable to trade him.
Re-signing James to pair with Davis means that the Lakers are not projected to have the salary-cap space to sign another max-level player until the summer of 2024, but in the interim it does guarantee relevance for a franchise that absolutely has to have it.
Next summer will be nothing special for James, but the summer after is the same time that his son, Bronny, is eligible for the draft. If LeBron really wants to suit up with Bronny, that will be his best chance to do it, and it could lead to his exit from L.A.
Besides that, James is likely to finish out his career in LA, and he showed his loyalty by signing that contract way before he had to.