The Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason has been nothing short of eventful — full of trade talks, new hires, and conversations surrounding LeBron James‘ future with the franchise.
Coming off a lackluster season in which they missed the playoffs, the Lakers are looking to rebound with new head coach Darvin Ham and his fresh approach to running the team. While Ham seemingly has all the support from the Lakers organization, there’s an uncertain but vital piece that hasn’t been solidified: James, whose contract will expire after the 2022-23 season.
The four-time MVP is eligible to ink an extension now but has yet to do so. But Nick Wright, discussing the topic on his podcast, “What’s Wright?”, offered four reasons why James shouldn’t sign anything yet.
1. Keep the pressure on Los Angeles
Ever since controversy blossomed around the Nets regarding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Lakers have been mentioned as a possible trade destination for the All-Star point guard, a move that would reunite LeBron with his former Cavaliers teammate. James re-signing too early could provide a sense of contentment for the Lakers.
“Maybe LeBron should re-sign with the Lakers, but there is no reason whatsoever for him to do it now,” Wright said. “You want to keep the Lakers’ feet to the fire on acquiring Kyrie and potentially winning this year.”
2. Anthony Davis’ injury concerns
The eight-time All-Star has had an injury-riddled tenure with the Lakers. Davis has only played 76 of a possible 154 regular-season games over the last two seasons.
“What if Anthony Davis gets hurt for the third straight year?” Wright asked.
3. Uncertainty regarding Darvin Ham
Ham is ushering in a new identity with the Lakers, but with change at the top comes uncertainty. Though the organization and James seem to be optimistic, there’s no way to tell the future direction of the Lakers under their new coach.
“I like Darvin Ham,” Wright said. “There’s a chance that Darvin Ham’s a disaster.”
4. James could take less money
James will make $44.59 million in 2022-23. He could be willing to negotiate a deal where he’d take less money for the Lakers to gain quality assets for another title run sooner rather than later. As he enters his 20th season, the 37-year-old’s playing window is obviously closing.
“There’s also a chance LeBron does want to stay, and he just does it for less money,” Wright said. “I see no upside to him signing the extension now. It doesn’t mean he’s leaving the Lakers, but I see no upside to him signing now.”
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