Family at heart of decision to extend LeBron on Lakers contract

Family at heart of decision to extend LeBron on Lakers contract

LeBron James has been in the media spotlight since he was in high school and on the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Chosen One.” He’s become comfortable in that glare and a master message sender – he choreographs everything he says, every Instagram post, so the image and message he wants is projected out into the world. Nothing is accidental.

The day before, the Lakers could – and later on Thursday – offer him a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension that would keep him in purple and gold until age 40, which was the message LeBron sent. ? He trained with his sons Bronny and Bryce at the Lakers training center.

The post is another in a long line this summer highlighting how much family means to LeBron, and it shows just how entrenched he and his family are now in Los Angles.

Family appears to be the biggest factor in LeBron James’ decision to sign an extension with the Lakers, which he can officially do today (Thursday, Aug. 4).

LeBron has a long history of using short-term contracts to squeeze what he wants out of an organization, and these Lakers, as constructed, are not title contenders. Russell Westbrook’s trade situation looms over the team, as do questions over whether they’ll use their two tradeable first-round picks — 2027 and 2029, the last picks they can trade this decade — to bring about change important to the list. The Lakers fired their head coach, brought in a new one, and revamped the roster to get more athleticism and shooting, but that will only lead this team so far. Would LeBron’s signing of an extension make the Lakers more likely to use future picks to bolster the current squad? Maybe.

It’s all business. Ultimately, for LeBron, family comes first — and his family is comfortable in Los Angeles.

That’s why most people NBC Sports spoke to in the league expect LeBron to sign the extension in some form. Ultimately. He may well leverage the leverage to send a message about roster changes – although it’s not like Rob Pelinka and company haven’t tried to trade Westbrook – but ultimately, LeBron doesn’t give off the vibe of a guy looking to lock down Los Angeles.

At least until his son Bronny becomes eligible for the NBA Draft in two years. LeBron has made it clear he wants to play a season with his son. It’s the one thing everyone thinks he’d leave LA to do. Maybe the Lakers would use their 2024 first-round pick to pick Bronny and keep the family working at their training facility, except the Lakers don’t control that pick. Pelicans trade Anthony Davis. As Joe Varden ably explained to The Athletic this week, the Pelicans have the option of using that 2024 pick or deferring to 2025 and letting the Lakers pick in 2024. It’s obviously far too early for anyone to do. this call. (Also, the quality of an NBA prospect, Bronny, remains uncertain, many scouts don’t have him in the first round if he’s drafted at all. But if picking Bronny also gets a team, the big box -office who is LeBron for a season, the math changes.)

LeBron has three options with the Lakers’ extension offer (which would add years beyond the upcoming season, where LeBron will earn $44.5 million with Los Angeles):

1) Ignore it, don’t sign it and become a free agent next summer.
2) Sign him for the full two years and lock yourself in with the Lakers until 40.
3) Sign for an additional year, or a year with a player option for the second year (a 1+1).

Option 3 keeps LeBron settled in Los Angeles but with flexibility if and when Bronny enters the NBA in another market. Most sources around the league, NBC, said LeBron would go for option three — a 1+1 — but could take his time signing her. There is no rush (the extension can be signed until next June). And if that keeps the pressure on the Lakers to improve the roster, great.

If LeBron takes his time with the expansion, speculation will escalate on social media. Welcome to the modern NBA. Talk of LeBron returning to Cleveland will grow. But LeBron will keep his eye focused on what matters to him. And it’s family.

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