After the season-long speculation about the future of Russell Westbrook and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Davis, conversations have now moved on to LeBron James. The King has expressed a desire to eventually play with his son Bronny if he makes it to the NBA, but for now, he is expected to continue playing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
And as such, he does have an extension coming up he could sign that would see him stay with the Lakers for 2 extra years beyond next season. It's a 2-year, $97 extension that he would become eligible to sign on August 4th. However, there is a chance considering that the roster isn't significantly improved, that James might not sign it.
James insisted that he wishes to stay with the Lakers earlier in 2022, saying he wishes to be there as long as he can play.
“This is a franchise I see myself being with. I’m here. I’m here… I literally live in the moment. I do. I live in the moment. I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play."
However, while this is good to hear, it's no different from the things he has said in the past, as pointed out by Yahoo Sports. During his two stints in Cleveland and his time in Miami, James said similar things before eventually leaving in free agency.
"I've been a Cav for seven years, and I've never given any indication I was leaving," he said in November 2009, "This free-agent talk is getting old, and I'm going to stop. Tonight will be the last time I answer any more free-agent questions until the offseason. I owe it to myself and my teammates."
"I would love to spend the rest of my career in Miami," he said in September 2013, weeks before clarifying, "I owe it to this organization, and I owe it to my teammates to really not get involved and not talk about it."
"That hasn't changed," he said in September 2017, when he was asked if previous pledges to finish his career in Cleveland were still his intention, months before asserting, "It’s a discredit to my teammates and the coaching staff here. My only focus now is trying to figure out how we can become a championship-caliber team in these next few months. It’s been so many stories about me in the last few months, in the last few days, about where I’m going and where I’m at and what place I’m in. I’m here. I’m right here."
It would be very understandable if James left the Lakers in his pursuit of winning 2 more championships and catching up with Jordan. But at the same time, his lack of loyalty throughout his career will also always be held against him. One way or the other, the Lakers cannot afford to lose LeBron anytime soon if they want to get back to the top in the NBA.