LeBron James became eligible on Thursday to sign a one- or two-year contract extension. While the Lakers and James have next June 30 — the day before James would become an unrestricted free agent — to reach an agreement, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated on NBA Today that there’s mutual interest in getting an extension done (video link).
“All signs point toward both sides looking to extend their partnership together,” McMenamin said, adding “Overall, both sides recognize they can help one another get to their mutual goal, which is to compete at a high level and stay relevant.”
James and his representative, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, met with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham at the team’s practice facility on Thursday. Paul told McMenamin that they were “productive talks” and he “expects them to continue.”
We have more on the Lakers:
- The start of training camp could be a soft deadline to trade Russell Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha says both sides would like to avoid the massive off-court distraction of a media circus constantly speculating about Westbrook’s future.
- In the same mailbag piece, Buha indicates that, for now at least, the Pacers seem more willing to get a Westbrook deal done than the Nets or another other possible suitor.
- Despite issues of spacing and long-term contract concerns, Julius Randle would still be a better fit with James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook as a third star, Buha argues. However, Westbrook is mainly a fallback option for the Knicks if they’re unable to acquire Donovan Mitchell.
- Talen Horton-Tucker isn’t likely to be a regular member of the team’s rotation due to his skill set, in Buha’s view. His primary strengths are ballhandling and shot creation and the team already has plenty of players who can provide that.
- Free agent acquisition Lonnie Walker will fill Malik Monk‘s former role of instant offense off the bench, Buha adds. Walker is a streaky shooter but shot selection and defense are concerns.