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LeBron James is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, and there is optimism that the two sides will strike a deal to keep him in purple and gold for at least a few more years.
“All signs point toward both sides looking to extend their partnership together,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported Friday on NBA Today. “It’s already led to one championship in 2020. It’s also led to two playoff appearances where they didn’t make it, but overall I think both sides recognize that they can help one another get to their mutual goal, which is to compete at a high level and stay relevant as both one of the best players in the NBA and one of the most marquee franchises in the NBA.”
James is entering the final year of his contract with the Lakers in 2022-23 and is eligible to sign a two-year, $97.1 million extension that would keep him in L.A. through the 2024-25 season.
The four-time NBA champion will be 38 by the time his current deal expires. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, any player 38 or older is only eligible to sign a two-year contract.
James’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, told McMenamin that the two sides had a “productive” discussion together Thursday. They met with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and new head coach Darvin Ham.
Thursday was the first day James was eligible to sign an extension. He has until June 30, 2023, to put pen to paper on a new deal before he becomes a free agent.
Regardless of how his potential extension turns out, James has said he wants to play with his oldest son, Bronny, in the NBA before retiring. Bronny will enter his senior year of high school this fall and is eligible for the 2024 NBA draft.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James said in an interview with The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd in February. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
James, who is entering his fifth season with the Lakers, showed no signs of slowing down during the 2021-22 campaign despite the Purple and Gold missing the playoffs. He averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 56 games while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from deep.
The 18-time All-Star is expected to play just as well in 2022-23, though he’ll hope his efforts pay off with a berth in the playoffs and another NBA title.