Through Martin Rogers
FOX Sports columnist
Whether you’re the type of person who spends half your life watching online videos (aka as a teenager) or you take occasional forays into the social sphere, chances are you’ll spot a clip to have Lebron James in this week.
The Los Angeles Lakers star posted a sequence of him and his two sons – Bronny and Bryce – doing some serious training work at the team’s facility. It was impressive, endearing in many ways – and a sign of intent.
James doesn’t do much by accident, and over the years there have been countless instances where his interviews, Instagram posts, comments, actions, or attire choices have been tinged with subliminal subtlety, thinly veiled messages layered with engaging content.
That such a piece would fall a few days before the four-time NBA champion was eligible for a Lakers contract extension might have been coincidental. Ha! Yes, perhaps.
Only James knows what the message really is, but you can deduce that it’s a version of an implied statement along the lines of: If the Lakers want James to commit quickly to something that will happen over the remainder of his year current Tinseltown deal, then the family had better be a part of the bargain.
It has been known for a long time that James wants to play with his eldest son Bronny. He teased it well before Bronny’s middle school years and strongly doubled down earlier this year by declaring that his final season would be a tandem act.
“My senior year is being played with my son,” James told The Athletic. “Wherever Bronny is, that’s where I’ll be. I would do anything to play with my son for a year. It’s not about the money.”
Bronny James is a rising senior at Sierra Canyon High School and is currently a mid-second-rounder forecast if he qualifies for the 2024 draft. He will reportedly either spend a year in college, play in Australia or test the waters of the G League Ignite after graduating from high school.
LeBron reps have ‘productive’ meeting with Lakers brass | UNDISPUTED
LeBron James and his agent Rich Paul met with Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Thursday to discuss James’ eligible contract extension, according to Dave McMenamin.
LeBron James can sign a two-year extension worth up to $97.1 million, but no longer because he’s 37 and NBA regulations limit the length of contracts for aging veterans. He and his family have settled in Los Angeles.
Negotiations are ongoing, but it’s reasonable to expect James to seek assurances that the Lakers will do whatever it takes to bring Bronny on board, despite not having a 2024 first-round pick.
For example, he could be looking for them to add Bronny to their G-League program. He could be pushing for a 1+1 extension with a player option for himself, which would essentially make him a free agent again in the summer of 2024.
If that emerges, he could then flex his celebrity power muscles. Unfavorable teams could be warned not to bother drafting Bronny if LeBron wasn’t willing to go there.
Or – and that might be the ultimate in fatherly support – he could wait and see how the draft plays out and then sign with that team for a lowly, team-friendly figure.
There’s no doubt James is determined to help his son fulfill his potential, but there are also concerns his bold statements have put pressure on the youngster. Bronny is 6ft 3 but has only grown an inch in the last two years which has caused him to slide down some rankings.
He is most often viewed as a potential NBA role player at best.
“[LeBron] shouldn’t be thinking about what’s in it for me,” said FOX Sports’ Chris Broussard on his Odd Couple podcast. “It should be what’s best for Bronny. The best game is to let it evolve and be ready. And maybe he will, I’m not saying he won’t.”
Bronny James has 6 million followers on Instagram and is already recognized everywhere. Australian NBL team Sydney Kings have previously stated that the club “would sell out 18,000 seats every night” if they joined them.
Dodging under the radar will simply never be an option for him.
LeBron James Eligible For Two-Year $97M Extension With Lakers | UNDISPUTED
LeBron James can sign a two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers starting August 4.
Another difficulty in deciphering the James future mystery is 15-year-old Bryce, a sophomore who some scouts believe could end up being a bigger and better candidate than his brother. Could James Sr. somehow last until age 41 and play with his two sons?
As the contract plays out, it will give us the clearest view yet of what the rest of James’ career will be like. His relationship with the Lakers doesn’t appear to be seamless, but a breakup doesn’t seem likely.
In the short term he wants to get Kyrie Irving and trade away Russell Westbrook. In addition, the family part of his wish list is crucial.
You can guarantee that he is asking for a lot and is just as likely to get it. Because if you’re one of the NBA’s all-time greats, there’s one simple reason you should be asking about the world.
Because you can do it.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. YHere you can subscribe to the daily newsletter.
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