LeBron James Officially Extension-Eligible, And The Waiting Game Begins

It’s mystery time for the Lakers and really the entire NBA.LeBron James

On Thursday, LeBron James became eligible for a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension, which he can sign with the Lakers until the end of June 2023.

Knowing James, there’s a good chance he keeps the Lakers waiting, the fans buzzing and the rumors flying. He is often extremely patient in these situations. Some say it’s because he craves the attention. Others more in tune will say he wants to give it a minute, see how things play out.

If James doesn’t sign the extension, he will become a free agent next summer. He could also sign a one-plus-one deal, with the second year being a player option, setting him up for free agency in 2024 — just several months ahead of his 40th birthday.

James has said he wants to play for any team that draft’s son Bronny James, who is entering his senior year of high school. So it’s likely that LeBron arranges his contract to make that possibility doable.

As of today, NBA Draft Room lists Bronny as the No. 25 overall prospect in 2024. Several scouts said if the 2024 draft were today, however, Bronny would be a second-round selection.

But there’s a long ways to go before any of that.

For now, all that matters to the Lakers is what James decides to do right now — or this season. He last signed an extension on Dec. 3, 2020.

Under normal circumstances, James would be extension-eligible on Dec. 3 of this year, but because COVID messed with the NBA calendar, he will do so now.

Interestingly, at age 37, James will now be impacted by the NBA’s Over-38 rule. ” It prevents him from playing on contract longer than three years (including his current deal), which limits the length of a potential extension to two years,” wrote Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors. “Assuming a $46,698,737 starting salary, LeBron’s maximum two-year extension would be worth $97,133,373 — the second year (2024/25) could be a player option.”

What James will do next really is anyone’s guess. But it seems as if he will finish his career with the Lakers.

Per Marc Stein of the Stein Line, his family is “entrenched” in LA — and his family’s desire to move to Southern California is a major reason why James went there in the first place, sources have told Hoops Wire.

No matter, until James signs with the Lakers, the rumors will fly, and yes, that includes talk of a potential reunion with the Cavaliers.

But for now, all we know about James is what we don’t know, and we can likely expect to be the case for a while, perhaps an entire season.

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