LeBron James has made it no secret he wants to finish his career playing alongside his son Bronny.
Now that the elder James has inked a new two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, is the dream of a #JamesGang linkup over?
Nope. Not in the slightest.
James' agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that LeBron's extension comes with a player option for the 2024-25 season. The deal is essentially a one-year extension that gives James the option of remaining with the Lakers if he so chooses.
What's important about the 2024-25 season, you ask? Well, that's the first year Bronny James will be eligible to play in the NBA.
From a practical standpoint, nothing changes. James was almost certainly not going to leave the Lakers until the 2024 offseason, anyway. He's linked himself and his Lakers tenure to fellow Klutch client Anthony Davis, whose contract also carries a player option for the 2024-25 season.
Wojnarowski's report also makes a salient point about the Lakers' current cap situation. If the Lakers don't take on any more long-term salaries on their books beyond the 2023-24 season, they could have the space to add a third max contract with James and Davis. The Lakers are currently projected to have around $20 million in cap space next summer, so it would take some level of patience from the front office to keep that third max slot available.
Malika Andrews @malika_andrews
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That said, the fact James and Davis both have player options for the 2024-25 season is not an accident.
As far as Bronny James' situation goes, it's nearly impossible to look two years into the crystal ball and see where his basketball future lies. He's currently the No. 49 player in the 2023 high school class, per 247Sports. If he were anyone other than LeBron James' son, it's unlikely there would be much talk of him being a one-and-done talent.
Being the son of LeBron is a gift and a curse in this sense. Even if Bronny were to struggle in his post-high school career, there's little doubt he'd get a chance to at least sign on with an NBA team for training camp. This is a league, after all, that has signed LiAngelo Ball and Chris Smith in the past; relationships carry weight.
Whatever version of LeBron James that exists as he approaches age 40 in 2024 will have enough sway to get Bronny in the door of an NBA franchise — even if it's just for a cameo appearance.
On the other hand, if Bronny ascends to stardom over the next two years, the level of power LeBron can exert diminishes. A team that wants to draft Bronny isn't going to pass him over simply because they play in a market that does not appeal to an aging LeBron.
But as for what impact the new extension has on Bronny's future, the answer is none at all. That will be determined over the next 22 or so months.