The 2021-22 season did not go as expected for the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite being led by the talented trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers could never string wins together consistently. It led to one of the most disappointing seasons in the franchise’s history, as the Lakers would miss the playoffs entirely and were left wondering where they went wrong along the way.
The Los Angeles Lakers could finish off a strong offseason with an extension for LeBron James
The Lakers revamped their bench this offseason by swapping out some aging veterans with younger, more versatile players. Among their free agent haul was Juan Toscano-Anderson, Troy Brown Jr., Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker IV, and Marvin Bagley III. As a result, their bench looks much deeper, heading into the 2022-23 season.
One big move still needs to be made this offseason, and it involves a massive extension for their star forward. LeBron is eligible for a two-year, $97.1 million extension this offseason that would tie him to the Lakers through the 2024-25 season.
James has had some concerns with the state of the Lakers recently, especially given their season-long struggles last season. But Lakers GM Rob Pelinka has assured James that he will do whatever he can to build a competitive squad around James, reassuring him of his commitment to the Lakers over the next few seasons. Here’s what Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports had to say about the meeting between James and Pelinka.
“Pelinka made his feelings clear that he wants James to retire as a Laker and promised to provide him with every resource possible to compete for a championship each year he’s with the organization, sources said.”
The Los Angeles Lakers’ partnership with LeBron James appears set to continue
At times, the Lakers and James have appeared to be on different wavelengths, making everyone wonder how long the two sides would stay in business together. James has made it clear that he wants to do as much winning as he can throughout the remainder of his career.
But the Lakers have occasionally been trepid in doing what it takes to pull off big moves. Their long-standing pursuit of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving this offseason is a prime example of Los Angeles’ front office not being super aggressive in making potentially championship-winning moves.
But Pelinka and company have said what they needed to say to keep James in tow moving forward. So while James hasn’t agreed to any extension yet, the assumption is that he will have that completed this offseason.
Once it becomes official, the Lakers will be good to go for the future. And as long as they have James on their roster, Los Angeles figures to be one of the most feared teams in the NBA, even with all their struggles from last season.