LeBron James may be leaning toward playing out his current contract and making a decision on his future next summer, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic. In August, James will become eligible for a two-year extension that would pay him $97.1MM and tie him to the Lakers through the end of the 2024/25 season.
Although that’s more than he could get from any other team, the organization’s turmoil and lack of success on the court could make him think twice about extending him commitment to the Lakers. James, who said in February that he would like to someday be on the same team with his son, Bronny, could return to playing on one-year contracts the way he did during his second stint in Cleveland, Amick adds, citing sources close to the situation.
James is intrigued by by the idea of setting the all-time scoring record in a Lakers’ uniform, but he also wants to contend for championships, which may be out of reach in L.A. When asked about the extension on Monday, he didn’t offer a direct answer.
“The conversation hasn’t been talked about,” James responded. “Technically it’s because (with) the collective bargaining agreement (it) cannot even be discussed until later on in the year. So, you know, I know what’s out there. But we can’t even — myself and (agent) Rich (Paul) — can’t even begin to talk with (GM) Rob (Pelinka), or the front office at all, because of the collective bargaining agreement. So (when) we get to that point, we’ll see.”
There’s more on the Lakers:
- If Russell Westbrook remains with the team next season, there will be “significant pressure” for him to become a sixth man, according to Amick, who states that “some key Lakers figures” thought that should have been his role this year. Westbrook clashed repeatedly with just-fired head coach Frank Vogel, so it’s possible that he would be more accommodating to a new coach.
- James would be “very enthused” to see Mark Jackson become the team’s next head coach, Amick adds. Jackson, a broadcaster for ABC and ESPN, has been out of coaching since the Warriors fired him after the 2013/14 season. Amick notes that the Lakers haven’t always taken coaching advice from James, who preferred Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd before Vogel was hired in 2019.
- Many of the prominent names mentioned in the Lakers’ coaching search are already under contract and may be out of reach, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Quin Snyder‘s deal with the Jazz runs for at least another year, and sources tell Turner that Snyder has less interest in the L.A. job after seeing how the organization mishandled Vogel’s firing. Nick Nurse has two years left on his contract in Toronto and it’s assumed around the league that the Raptors won’t let him leave, Turner adds, while Juwan Howard reportedly wants to stay at Michigan and coach his sons. However, even though he has three years left on his contract with the Sixers, Doc Rivers “should not be discounted as a candidate,” a source familiar with the situation tells Turner.