That Los Angeles Lakers’ The off-season has been nothing short of eventful – full of trade talks, new hires and talks around the topic Lebron James‘ Future with the franchise.
After a lackluster season in which they missed the playoffs, the Lakers are looking to bounce back with new head coach Darvin Ham and his fresh approach to running the team. While Ham appears to have the entire backing of the Lakers organization, there is one shaky but important piece that hasn’t been solidified: James, whose contract expires after the 2022-23 season.
The four-time MVP can now apply for an extension but has yet to do so. But Nick Wright, who discussed the topic on his What’s Wright? podcast, offered four reasons why James shouldn’t sign anything just yet.
1. Keep the pressure on Los Angeles
Ever since controversy erupted on the nets about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Lakers have been mentioned as a possible trade target for the all-star point guard, a move that would reunite LeBron with his former Cavaliers teammate. Signing James too early could give the Lakers a sense of satisfaction.
“Maybe LeBron should re-sign with the Lakers, but there’s absolutely no reason for him to do it now,” Wright said. “They want to keep the Lakers feet in the fire as they take over Kyrie and potentially win this year.”
2. anthony davis injury concerns
The eight-time All-Star had an injury-ridden tenure with the Lakers. Davis has only played 76 regular-season games out of a possible 154 over the past two seasons.
“What if Anthony Davis gets injured for the third year in a row?” Wright asked.
3. Uncertainty about Darvin Ham
Ham is ushering in a new identity with the Lakers, but with the change at the helm comes uncertainty. While the organization and James appear optimistic, there’s no way to tell the Lakers’ future direction under their new coach.
“I like Darvin Ham,” Wright said. “There’s a chance Darvin Ham is a disaster.”
4. James could take less money
James will earn $44.59 million in 2022-23. He might be willing to negotiate a deal where he would take less money for the Lakers in exchange for high-quality assets for another title run sooner rather than later. With the start of his 20th season, the 37-year-old’s playing window is obviously closing.
“There’s also a possibility that LeBron wants to stay, and he’s just doing it for less money,” Wright said. “I don’t see any advantage in him signing the extension now. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving the Lakers, but I see no benefit in him signing now.”
Get more from the National Basketball Association Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.