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LeBron James commits his future to the Los Angeles Lakers by signing a massive two-year, $97.1 million extension

The King is staying in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

LeBron James

For all the solid work the Los Angeles Lakers had done this offseason, the one thing hanging over their head was a potential extension for star forward LeBron James. James had one year left on his initial contract with the Los Angeles Lakers he signed back in 2018, and there were some concerns that he may be exploring options out of Los Angeles. These concerns grew after he mentioned wanting to play with his son, Bronny, if he were to make it to the NBA.

LeBron James put speculation of his future with the Los Angeles Lakers to rest

While rumors weren’t exactly swirling, it was fair to wonder whether James was willing to commit his future to the Lakers, especially given how their previous two seasons have gone. Aside from the 2019-2020 season, Los Angeles hasn’t succeeded with James on board.

LeBron recently met with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka to discuss the franchise’s future. James wanted to make sure Pelinka was as committed to winning as he was, and Pelinka assured LeBron that he would do whatever it took to build a championship contender around James in L.A.

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Pelinka’s pitch must have worked, as James officially signed a massive two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers, securing his long-term future with the team. James will likely finish his career in Los Angeles, as this deal runs through the 2024-25 season, which is James’ age 40 season. But LeBron has shown virtually no signs of regression to this point in his career, making this extension a clear win for both sides.

What does LeBron James’ extension mean for the Los Angeles Lakers?

This deal means James will continue to get paid for the next few seasons. But what does this deal mean for Los Angeles? For starters, they won’t be able to re-tool their roster due to James taking a pay cut. This was the maximum extension he could have signed, and the Lakers decided to give him all of it rather than try to create some space to address other areas of the roster by signing him to a cheaper deal.

This also makes it more likely that the Lakers will trade Russell Westbrook at some point down the line. The Lakers have been desperately trying to unload Westbrook all offseason long and haven’t had much luck doing so. Westbrook also has a massive contract on the books, and now James has a huge salary himself, which means getting rid of his contract is at the top of the Lakers’ to-do list.

It’s worth noting that the Lakers have already done a solid job re-tooling their roster this offseason, and even if James took a discount to stay, his deal would still be expensive. Of course, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Los Angeles just locked in one of the top players in the league on their roster for the next three seasons.

Despite that, it’s clear the Lakers still have a lot of work to do moving forward. Getting rid of Westbrook is obviously crucial, but Westbrook wasn’t the only reason this team missed the playoffs last season. Having LeBron on board is huge, but this appears to only be the start for the Lakers in building themselves back into a championship-caliber team.

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