LeBron James has continued to dominate the news cycle going into the latter portions of his legendary career. Along with the Los Angeles Lakers, they both are looking for a reinvention of sorts with plenty of things to fix. The laundry list of things to do included getting a new head coach, rebuilding their roster, and aligning their superstars. Two of those players, Russell Westbrook and James, have futures that are up in the air.
For James, it’s definitely a decision that he has under full control. August 4th marked the date that the Lakers could extend him before he can make the decision to hit free agency in 2023. With many questions about trades and the makeup of the current roster, it wasn’t expected that a contract resolution would come to fruition today. It didn’t stop the Lakers from trying to conjure up a deal.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on Thursday, August 4th that the Lakers and James met to touch bases:
No new deal has been agreed upon yet, however, sources said.
James and Paul met with Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka as well as new Lakers coach Darvin Ham in the war room at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo, California on Thursday. It was the first day James was eligible to sign a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers.
Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes revealed details on the meeting just five days after both sides touched bases:
And while contract dialogue was broached, the majority of the hour-long meeting was about expressing concerns, and hearing out strategies and opinions to assure there wouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s epic failure, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
James, sources said, drilled home the importance of consistent competitiveness and cohesion, noting that last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for the future Hall of Famer is competing every night in order to give themselves a chance to compete for a championship.
James echoed the sentiments of many fans after last season’s debacle. In lock and step, Coach Darvin Ham is envisioning a new beginning and championship identity as well. He went on to describe the team’s cues for next year:
Furthermore, the first-year head coach said one wrinkle he will implement and stick with is having the offense run through Anthony Davis, and James concurred, sources said. The team has been encouraged with Davis’ offseason progression and believe he’ll be in optimum shape to avoid serious injuries and carry a heavier load.
The team is also hopeful for a corner-3 shooting percentage bump from Russell Westbrook next season, sources said.
The Lakers have been hesitant to construct a deal including two future first round picks to bring the likes of Kyrie Irving or Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to Los Angeles. The hopes of fans around the world is that the Lakers would change their minds after leaving their meeting with James. If there was a proposed commitment by LeBron, the Lakers are probably working the phones as you read this.
If the team elects not to revisit trades, the Lakers will have to rely on their renewed vision. This would mean that Westbrook will play his proposed part alongside James and Davis. It’ll also increase the difficulty of the challenge that lays before Ham to bring this team back to championship-contending status.
Training camp will begin some time in September. Ideally, many of the questions surrounding LeBron’s contract and the trade rumors may be resolved by then. The Lakers can’t afford to have the task of intergrating a new coach and a new roster while their main superstar’s future is an unknown. Today is an eye-opener for the Lakers. If it doesn’t push them to get their team solidified, it certainly seems like all parties are aiming for the highest prize while they’re together this year.