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LeBron James, Lakers Agree to Major Contract Extension

Dallas Basketball on FanNation 8/17/2022 Grant Afseth
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LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will remain together longer after reaching a contract extension agreement.

LeBron James put to rest the potential concerns about a departure from the Los Angeles Lakers after the upcoming season by reaching an agreement on a contract extension.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers. The final year of the contract includes a player option. 

“This is a franchise I see myself being with. I’m here. I’m here,” James said. “I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play.”

James is set to earn $44.5 million for the final-year of his two-year contract extension. It has been a common strategy throughout his NBA career to sign 1+1 contract extensions — enabling him to apply pressure on front offices.

There has been speculation about whether James would use his contract extension eligibility to pressure the Lakers organization into making a more aggressive push to complete a trade with the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving

The Lakers have yet to make serious progress in trade overtures for Irving. The team has been reluctant to part with future draft capital in order to both move on from Russell Westbrook's contract and acquire an impact player in return. 

Irving is in the final year of his current contract after exercising his $36.1 million player option. If the Lakers are willing to play out the 2022-23 season, they could sign Irving and allow Westbrook's contract to expire without making a big trade. Is James willing to wait? Are the Lakers willing to risk coming up short this season? It's a situation to monitor. 

The Dallas Mavericks are a team that has drawn the praise of James often and made it at least vaguely worth monitoring his future. He's called Luka Doncic his favorite player and has relationships with Jason Kidd and Nico Harrison.

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