LeBron James is all set to enter the 20th season of his incredible NBA career. Looking back at his achievements, he has had nothing but magical short of a time in the NBA. But it is a well-known fact that James will soon retire from the league.
So in the little time that he has in the NBA, he wants to accomplish more great things. One of those targets is obviously to win at least one more ring with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Moreover, LBJ played like a superstar last season, but the supporting cast around him simply failed to match his level. This resulted in James missing the postseason for the second time in his stint with the Lakers.
The aftermath of that poor season is being reflected in the 4x NBA champion's reluctance to sign a contract extension with the Purple and Gold. With the core of the team still the same as last year, it feels like James is not ready to make a long-term commitment with the team before they onboard another superstar.
The best way to do that would be to trade for Kyrie Irving. On a similar note, NBA analyst Shannon Sharpe recently spoke about the only condition that James has before signing a new contract with the Lakers.
"When you get LeBron James, you know what the stakes are. ... ‘Look, you already wasted one of my years, you wasted one. I gave you a grace period ‘cause when I first signed here I didn’t say you had to make any other move. I played with what we had. You didn’t make any move.’ He played with the kids. ‘Hey, I’m done with that.’ This is the only leverage LeBron has. I believe he will sign the contract only when he believes Rob Pelinka, only when he believes the Lakers have done their due diligence and everything they possibly can to make this a championship-contending team. I think, deep down inside, I don’t think LeBron believes this is a championship-contending team as is currently constructed.”
As Sharpe explained, James has given four years of his career to the Lakers. In those four years, he has won a ring, faced a first-round exit once, and missed the playoffs twice.
Currently, James doesn't have any more time to waste. He wants the Lakers to trade their future picks in order to bolster the roster right now. If the Lakers refuse to do so, he can simply play out his contract and leave the team next summer.