LeBron James has been in the media spotlight since he was a high school student and on the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Chosen One”. He has become comfortable with that glow and a primary message sender: he choreographs everything he says, every Instagram post, so that the image and message he wants is projected into the world. Nothing is an accident.
The day before the Lakers could – and later Thursday they will – offer him a $ 97.1 million two-year contract extension that would keep him in purple and gold until he was 40, which was the message sent by LeBron? He worked with his sons Bronny and Bryce at the Lakers training facility.
The post is another in a long series this summer highlighting just how much family means to LeBron, and it shows how much he and his family are now entrenched in Los Angeles.
Family appears to be the most important factor in LeBron James’ decision to sign an extension with the Lakers, which he can officially do today (Thursday 4 August).
LeBron has a long history of using short-term contracts to leverage what he wants from an organization and these Lakers, as built, are no title contenders. Russell Westbrook’s trading situation looms over the team, as do questions as to whether they will use both of their first-round swappable picks – 2027 and 2029, the latest picks they can swap in this decade – to make significant changes to the roster. The Lakers fired their manager, put in a new one, and revamped the roster of roleplayers to get more athleticism and shooting, but that will only get this team so far. Would LeBron’s signing of an extension make the Lakers more likely to use future choices to strengthen the current team? Perhaps.
It’s all business. Ultimately, for LeBron, family is first and foremost and his family is comfortable in Los Angeles.
This is why most of the people NBC Sports has spoken to throughout the league expect LeBron to sign the extension in some way. In the end. He might very well use leverage to send a message about list changes – though it’s not like Rob Pelinka and the company haven’t tried to swap Westbrook – but in the end, LeBron doesn’t give off the vibe of a guy trying to kick out Los Angeles. .
At least until his son Bronny becomes NBA draft eligible in two years. LeBron has made it clear that he wants to play a season with his son. It’s the one thing everyone believes he’d leave Los Angeles to do. Perhaps the Lakers would use their 2024 first-round pick to select Bronny and have the family work at their training facility, except the Lakers don’t control that pick. Pelicans make from Anthony Davis’ trade. As Joe Varden presented well at Atletico this week, the Pelicans have the option to use that 2024 pick or push back to 2025 and let the Lakers pick in 2024. Obviously it’s too early for anyone to make that call. (Also, it remains questionable how good a potential NBA candidate Bronny is, many scouts don’t have him in the first round if enlisted at all. But if choosing Bronny also earns a team the big box office that is LeBron for a season, the calculation changes. .)
LeBron has three options with the Lakers extension offer (which would add years beyond next season, where LeBron will make $ 44.5 million with Los Angeles):
1) Ignore it, don’t sign it and become a free agent next summer.
2) Signed for two full years and locked up with the Lakers until the age of 40.
3) Sign for an extra year, or a year with a player option for the second year (a 1 + 1).
Option 3 keeps LeBron established in Los Angeles but with flexibility if and when Bronny enters the NBA in another market. Most sources across the NBC league have spoken with the expected that LeBron will go with option three – a 1 + 1 – but that he might take his time to sign it. There is no rush (the extension can be signed until next June). And if that keeps the pressure on the Lakers to update the roster, so much the better.
If LeBron takes his time with the extension, speculation will ramp up on social media. Welcome to the modern NBA. The speech of LeBron’s return to Cleveland will grow. But LeBron will keep his eyes focused on what matters to him. And this is the family.