LeBron James inked a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension (including a 2024-25 player option) with the Los Angeles Lakers that will keep him in town for the next couple seasons at minimum.
With that in mind, James has reportedly been assured that the Lakers are willing to deal their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to improve their roster and return as contenders.
Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein provided the news Thursday.
"League sources say James, in fact, has been assured that the Lakers are willing to trade both of their available future first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 if a trade that costs them both picks can realistically position the Lakers to return to contender status," Stein wrote.
James and the Lakers are trying to bounce back from a 33-49 season that ended with an 11th-place finish in the Western Conference.
Those Lakers picks have been in the news lately. Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported Wednesday that L.A. is willing to part with both of them for Brooklyn Nets point Kyrie Irving.
However, the Nets want to retain both Irving and Kevin Durant, who has requested a trade, in hopes of running it back with the star duo in 2022-23, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst:
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that the Lakers have interest in the Indiana Pacers' Buddy Hield and Myles Turner but wouldn't part with both first-rounders for that move.
Ultimately, the Lakers' first-rounders are arguably their biggest trade chips.
For now, the Lakers will go into the regular season, which begins for them on Oct. 18 against the Golden State Warriors, with their Big Three of James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis, who will return after missing 42 games last year.
Other players who should see significant playing time include Austin Reaves and Talen Horton-Tucker. L.A. also added young and promising ex-first-round picks in Troy Brown Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV.