LeBron James has never been shy about using free agency as a tool, and is doing it once again with the Los Angeles Lakers. Currently heading into the final year of his contract, the future Hall of Famer is in no rush to sign an extension with the team.
Playing on a one-year deal has never been an issue for LeBron James throughout his career. He regularly signed short-term deals before coming to LA in an attempt to incentivize his front office to build a contender. A similar situation could be happening right now with the Lakers.
Since winning the NBA title back in 2020, LA continues to trend in the wrong direction. After failing to make the playoffs last season, LeBron James is smart to be in no rush to sign a new contract. At this stage of his career, contending remains one of his top priorities.
During a recent episode of First Things First, FS1’s Chris Broussard defended LeBron James for opting not to sign an extension right away with the Lakers. He feels it’s right for players to have leverage in certain circumstances.
“LeBron wants to be a Laker. He wants to stay with the Lakers for the foreseeable future. So I know he’s not trying to move on, at least not anytime soon.”
“He can maintain the leverage you’re talking about by just waiting. See how this season goes, see how AD plays and how the team comes together, what possible moves might be out there. There’s nothing wrong with having leverage.”
“I know LeBron wants to be a Laker & he wants to stay with the Lakers for the foreseeable future. He can maintain the leverage by just waiting. There’s nothing wrong with having leverage, especially when you can sign this deal at anytime.
Given the current outlook of the franchise, LeBron James is certainly making the right move but not rushing into a new deal. There are multiple unknowns regarding the Lakers’ future, and he should not risk locking in long-term any earlier than he needs to.
“I’m told nothing is imminent [in regards to a LeBron James extension with the Lakers.]… You can see LeBron’s camp wait to see how things play out with the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster leading up to training camp.”— Dave McMenaminhttp
The two big things to watch involve the other team’s stars. As of now, it appears Russell Westbrook is going to start the year in LA. On top of that, there is no telling how Anthony Davis might hold up physically. If those two continue to create issues, LeBron has little chance of competing for a title with the Lakers.
Right now, LeBron might see this season as a last chance for the Lakers to turn things around. He will ride out the season with Russ and AD and see if the organization can turn things around enough for him to want to commit moving forward.