As the Kyrie Irving saga dragged on for weeks to wrap up the summer, the date LeBron James can first sign a contract extension with the Lakers — August 4 — has quietly begun to creep into the present. . From now on, the two stories will be at the heart of the discussion surrounding the Lakers until they make a trade, or James signs on the dotted line. The King’s impending decision is at the center of reports and rumors heading into the weekend.
Life in LA
LeBron’s initial choice to come to the Lakers certainly wasn’t entirely based on the state of the franchise. Likewise, his decision on an extension appears to be one that won’t be entirely based on the state of the franchise a few years down the line.
According to the latest Substack newsletter from longtime NBA journalist Marc Stein, James and his family remain happy in Los Angeles, which will surely play a big role in his future in the NBA.
Sources informed on the matter point out that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back difficult seasons. He and his family, by all accounts, have become more entrenched in Southern California since James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018.
One of the signs of his rooting in Southern California was James’ participation in the Drew League in mid-July. He’s certainly embraced life in Los Angeles for half a decade now.
Ironically, it is his family that could eventually lead him to leave Los Angeles. Bronny James, LeBron’s oldest son, will be draft eligible in 2024. LeBron has spoken of his desire to play alongside him and some in the league believe that poses the biggest threat to the Jameses leaving LA.
The prevailing thought in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside his son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would inspire LeBron to do pressure for an exit from Los Angeles.
This all paints a great picture for LeBron staying in Los Angeles, but his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers still feels like a threat to rob him…
Another return to basics?
The Cavs will always have an inherent advantage in signing LeBron, with Cleveland being just miles from his hometown of Akron. As long as he’s in the league and free agency is looming, he’ll be tied to them. But unlike 2014, when LeBron last returned to Cleveland, the Cavs are in a much better basketball situation.
On the latest episode of “The Crossover NBA Show” with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck, Cleveland.com Cavs beat reporter Chris Fedor discussed the potential of LeBron leaving Los Angeles for Cleveland.
“The Cavs aren’t sitting here today saying ‘LeBron, come to our organization, save us’ like they were in 2014. They feel like they have a good thing to do. They have feel like there’s more upside with this group. They feel like they can be a playoff team this year. They don’t feel hopeless need LeBron like they did in 2014. But if he’s ready to come and they can keep the roster intact and they have the ceiling space to bring him on board, they’re not able to say no to that caliber of player and I think they know that.”
While the Cavs are building a solid team, they’re not doing it with an eye on LeBron. And even though things have gone badly in Los Angeles for the past two seasons, it doesn’t seem, for now, that a sudden move is a realistic possibility. But we’re also only months away from LeBron complimenting the Cavs, so that doesn’t seem entirely out of place.
There could be a way for the Lakers to significantly increase their chances of LeBron staying…
Last update from Kyrie Irving
It wouldn’t be a rumor without SOMETHING about Kyrie Irving. Trade negotiations for the seven-time All-Star between the Lakers and the Nets are still at a standstill.
However, it still looks like a longtime Kyrie will actually return to the Nets given the way things have gone. The Brooklyn Nets beat writer Alex Schiffer from Athleticism discussed his thoughts on Irving’s return to Brooklyn next season.
I’m still skeptical he’ll be a Net next season. Would that surprise me? No. He comes from the area and has a house and a newborn baby there with the rest of his family. But the vibe I got with the Nets was that last season was such a mess that they don’t want to restart it unless some major changes are made.
There’s not much in the way of reporting on this, but it’s the same sentiment many have had about the situation and reaffirms that it feels like a long shot he’s staying in Brooklyn.
However, the Lakers don’t seem particularly close to acquiring Irving right now, or actually making a trade. Their lack of desire to include a second first-round pick remains the problem of any trade discussion, which may be potentially intentional according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Time.
Sources said the Lakers were more reluctant to part ways with picks this summer than in the past, perhaps a sign that they realize there is no quick fix or perhaps a sign that they are willing to wait as long as possible in an effort. to try to lower prices.
The Lakers don’t really have a deadline until training camp begins in September. Until then, they can continue to take a slow approach in the negotiation. LeBron could try to put some heat on the franchise by refusing to sign his extension until Kyrie is a Laker, which will set up a long but interesting rest of the summer.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed at itunes, Spotify, embroiderer Where Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.