LeBron James could sign an early contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. But the 37-year-old is said to be considering becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023. But that doesn’t automatically mean he will leave the Lakers.
This comes from a report by Sam Amick (Atletico) Outside. So James is toying with the idea of fulfilling his current contract for the time being, rather than signing an early contract extension this year.
LeBron’s current job with the Lakers runs until 2023, next season, his final year on his contract, he will earn $44.5 million. The Lakers could offer their superstar an early extension for another two years and $97.1 million this offseason. This would tie him to the franchise until 2025.
“Talks haven’t started yet, technically we can only talk at a later date because of the CBA,” James said Monday when asked about the possible contract extension. “I know what’s on the table, but we’re not yet allowed to speak to Rob (Pelinka, Lakers, GM, editor’s note) or the board. When we get to that point, we’ll see.”
If James does reject the early contract extension, it doesn’t automatically mean he will leave the Lakers in 2023. Instead, he could sign short-term deals like a one-year contract with a player option for a second year. He largely retained that flexibility during his second stop in Cleveland.
This approach is also supported by the fact that James has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to play in the NBA with his son in the future. Bronny James, currently in high school, would not be able to join the association until 2024 at the earliest.
Firstly, the Lakers will want to clarify the short-term future, above all, they need a new coach. There are plenty of applicants after Frank Vogel was fired, and the same Amick report also states that James would be “very excited” if Mark Jackson got the job. The former Warriors coach and longtime TV expert has not been left out since 2014.