LeBron James is believed to be leaning toward playing out his current contract with the Lakers, rather than signing a two-year, $97.1 million extension available this offseason, per Sam Amick of The Athletic.
As Amick noted, when James “hedged” when asked about the extension that would lock him in LA through 2025, saying he and agent Rich Paul have yet to discuss the matter with GM Rob Pelinka.
“The conversation hasn’t been talked about,” James told reporters. “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 Rich — can’t even begin to talk with Rob, or the front office at all, because of the collective bargaining agreement. So (when) we get to that point, we’ll see.”
James, 37, had another outstanding season individually, averaging 30.1 points and passing Karl Malone for second on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. But the Lakers struggled mightily, finishing a disappointing 33-49, with a roster that was largely over-the-hill, with a sprinkling of younger players.
With retirement age creeping up on him, James very well could continue to give himself options.
“Based on my conversations with people who have a strong sense of such things, it’s clear James is considering playing out this contract rather than signing a two-year extension this summer,” Amick wrote. “If flexibility and freedom are the goals here, James (who is owed $44.4 million next season) could go back to the year-by-year approach he perfected in his second Cleveland stop.”