Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is working through an extension with the Lakers on his own time — and so far, it’s reportedly going well.
LeBron James is halfway through a two-year, $85 million contract with the Lakers, yet James and his camp have their eyes set on the future.
Even though James is signed on for the 2022-23 season at $44.5 million, that hasn’t stopped King James for seeking a king’s ransom for another year or two in Los Angeles.
As of Aug. 4, James is now eligible to sign a contract extension with the Lakers. While ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated that there is nothing “imminent”, he also reported that contract talks have begun between James and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
LeBron James and his representative Rich Paul of Klutch Sports met with Lakers VP of basketball ops and GM Rob Pelinka on Thursday regarding James’ eligible contract extension. Paul told ESPN the discussion was “productive” and both sides will continue a dialogue.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 4, 2022
Although there’s little to go on at this point, LeBron fans can rest assured that the contract talks were “productive” as the two sides seek to get a deal done.
LeBron James kicks off “productive” contract extension talks with Lakers
McMenamin stated that James could be after a two-year, $97 million extension or a one-year, $47 million extension. The Lakers already wield two of the NBA’s highest-paid players, meaning that another massive contract for James could have debilitating consequences for the rest of the roster.
James is already the NBA’s third highest-paid player for the upcoming season, coming in behind Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry and fellow Lakers teammate Russell Westbrook.
In the upcoming season, Westbrook will be taking up 25 percent of the team’s cap space, James will take up 24 percent, and Anthony Davis will take up 20.7 percent at $37.9 million, per Spotrac.
That leaves about 30 percent for everyone else.
Talen Horton-Tucker is the fourth highest-paid player on the Lakers roster at $10.2 million for the 2022-23 season, and he’s only taking up 5.6 percent of the current cap percentage. Horton-Tucker has been shipped around as a possible trade chip all year, even though his contract equals peanuts compared to the monumental deal’s of the team’s biggest three stars.
All that being said, the Lakers are unlikely to force James to take a significant pay cut, and the team has already carved out enormous space to host James, Davis and Westbrook for the upcoming year. James is unlikely to offer the team much flexibility with his contract, otherwise, he could take his talents elsewhere.
Of course, there is good reason why James, Davis and Westbrook inked the deals that they did, as NBA teams are tasked with filling roster holes with rookies and young, underrated — or underpaid — talent. Taking a team-friendly deal isn’t something that league superstars need to do — someone is going to pay a premium for LeBron James.
McMenamin mentioned that there are two key factors involved in where LeBron will end his illustrious career: whether or not a team can get him another ring, and whether or not he can play with his son, Bronny James.
Although James’ extension talks are just beginning, his massive decision will impact not only the Lakers, but the future of the league as it decides where LeBron and Bronny will end up.