LeBron James Rumors: Lakers Star 'Considering' Not Signing 2-Year Contract ExtensionApril 12, 2022
LeBron James could put even more pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers' front office to quickly turn things around by not signing a contract extension this offseason.
Per The Athletic's Sam Amick, James is "considering" playing out his current deal that runs through next season instead of signing a two-year, $97.1 million extension that he's eligible for in August.
During his end-of-season press conference on Monday, James was coy when asked if he would sign a contract extension this summer.
"The conversation hasn’t been talked about technically because of the [NBA’s] collective bargaining agreement," James said. "I know it’s out there, but myself and [agent] Rich [Paul] can’t even begin to talk to [GM] Rob [Pelinka] and the front office because of the collective bargaining agreement. When we get to that point, we’ll see."
When James joined the Lakers in July 2018, he signed a four-year, $153.3 million deal. It was his longest contract since receiving a six-year deal from the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010.
James' longest contract during his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers was for three years, but the final year in 2018-19 was a player option. He declined that option to sign with the Lakers.
This season was a massive disappointment for the Lakers. They finished 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record, making it the second time in four seasons with James they haven't made the playoffs.
James and Anthony Davis combined to miss 68 games because of injuries. Russell Westbrook, who was acquired last offseason to ease the burden on James, never really fit in with the top two stars on the team when they were able to play together.
Assuming Westbrook opts in to his $47.1 million salary for next season, the Lakers will have $150.8 million in salary commitments to eight players. They don't have a first-round draft pick until 2026 stemming from the Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
General manager Rob Pelinka and his staff are going to have a difficult task improving the roster this offseason to make the Lakers a title contender.
When James was healthy, he showed no signs of slowing down in his 19th NBA season. The 37-year-old averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game in 56 starts.