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Thursday, Aug. 4, is the first day LeBron James is officially eligible to sign a contract extension to remain with the Los Angeles Lakers.
This coming season will be the final year of his current contract, and there has been plenty of speculation on his future with the team, especially given that L.A., as presently constructed, doesn’t appear to be a championship contender.
There were plenty of rumblings that he could very well leave next summer if no major changes are made, but lately, the pendulum has seemingly swung in the other direction.
Via Lakers Daily:
“James is now eligible to sign an extension to stay in Los Angeles, and he reportedly is expected to sign one in some form with the Lakers.
“‘That is why most people NBC Sports has spoken with around the league expect LeBron to sign the extension in some form,’ NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin wrote. ‘Eventually. He may well milk the leverage to send a message about roster changes — although it’s not like Rob Pelinka and company have not tried to trade [Russell] Westbrook — but in the end, LeBron does not give off the vibe of a guy looking to bolt Los Angeles.’
“Helin explained that James has some options with the Lakers’ potential extension offer and added that some sources believe he will prioritize flexibility with his deal.
“‘LeBron has three options with the Lakers’ extension offer:
“‘1) Ignore it, don’t sign it, and become a free agent next summer.
2) Sign it for the full two years and lock himself in with the Lakers until age 40.
3) Sign for one additional year, or one 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 NBC spoke with expected LeBron will go with option three — a 1+1 — but that he may take his time signing it. There is no rush. And if that keeps the pressure on the Lakers to upgrade the roster, all the better.'”
Of course, there are now a considerable number of Lakers fans who want James gone as soon as possible, and this news will not go over well with them.
However, for better or worse, he represents the team’s only real shot at winning another world title any time soon, and if he signs an extension, the Lakers will at least have a little more time to give him and Anthony Davis an elite supporting cast again.