Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James is eligible to sign a contract extension with the team Thursday, August 4. This is the first day he is eligible to sign, and is unlikely to do so on this particular day. That doesn’t mean James won’t ink a new deal with the Lakers, as he’s expressed his commitment to the franchise and his family’s desire to stay in Los Angeles.
Despite these public sentiments, the Lakers just trudged through a miserable season and appear to be headed for another drama-filled year. Russell Westbrook opted into his contract and has not been traded, which means James, Westbrook and Anthony Davis are likely to run things back this season.
James has historically let contract speculation swirl through a season, and usually doesn’t make his intentions known until he absolutely has to. That might be too much drama for the Lakers this season, but James has all the leverage here. Even at 37, he’s one of the top players in the NBA and came off a year where he averaged 30.3 points per game.
There are two factors which could prevent James from signing an extension. He has not closed the door on a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have a strong young core with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. He has also said he wants to play one year with his son Bronny James, who is likely two years away from coming to the NBA. James could sign a one-year extension before hitting free agency in the summer of 2024, where his son could be eligible for the draft.
Don’t expect any news Thursday of James inking a deal. He’ll let this situation materialize further and build his leverage, with LA’s moves and season performance likely impacting his eventual decision.