The Los Angeles Lakers are prepared to commit to LeBron James for the remainder of his NBA career.
Lakers governor Jeanie Buss recently told Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated she wants James to retire in a Lakers uniform.
"With LeBron, we have a line of communication between the two of us, and he knows that he can reach me any time and vice versa," Buss said on The Crossover. "And I think he feels appreciated. I know I appreciated that he signed an extension to stay here and continue to lead the Laker team. He's a fantastic leader both on and off the court, and I feel like we're blessed to have him as a Laker. I want to see him retire as a Laker."
Howard Beck @HowardBeck
On the Crossover pod, <a href="https://twitter.com/JeanieBuss?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JeanieBuss</a> talks Lakers drama, the <a href="https://twitter.com/KingJames?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KingJames</a> era, lessons from her father and her motive for producing the new <a href="https://twitter.com/hulu?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hulu</a> series, "Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers."<br><br>Listen/subscribe: <a href="https://t.co/lhCvpA2us5">https://t.co/lhCvpA2us5</a> <a href="https://t.co/cvdzODgfqa">pic.twitter.com/cvdzODgfqa</a>
James signed a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers this offseason, tying him to the team through at least the 2023-24 season. He has a $50.7 million player option for the 2024-25 campaign.
The player option is interesting, given James' long-stated desire to play with his son Bronny before he retires. Bronny James will be eligible for the 2024 NBA draft should he choose to declare after his freshman season.
LeBron's eldest son is the No. 45 overall player in the 2023 high school class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. While he's not considered an elite prospect, it's not outside the realm of possibilities that he's eventually an NBA-caliber player.
Should Bronny James declare for the 2024 draft, the Lakers—and 29 other NBA teams—will have an interesting decision to make. If LeBron follows through on his plan to play with Bronny, every team in the 2024 draft will have a potential bargaining chip as James possibly heads for free agency.
While it would be unprecedented for a team to use a draft pick for the express purpose of signing a free agent, a father-son duo in the NBA is equally unprecedented.