Lakers fans have been waiting all offseason for one of the team’s stars to re-up with the franchise on a new contract, but they probably didn’t expect it to be LeBron James.
While Anthony Davis continues to live life as an unrestricted free agent, James has extended his stay with the Lakers for an additional two seasons for another $85 million. James’ current contract ran through 2021-22, but there was a player option on the final year. Now, he is fully committed with no options through 2022-23, at which point he will be 38 years old. This move could signal that James wants to end his career as a Laker.
LeBron James‘ two-year, $85M max extension with the Los Angeles Lakers runs through 2022-23 season, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. James‘ 36th birthday is on Dec. 30. https://t.co/MAF7WjxSWs— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 2, 2020
It’s also interesting what this signing indicates for the rest of the Lakers’ free agency moves. There had been rumors that Davis would sign a 1+1 deal so that he could time his free agency with that of James, but that is no longer the case. There were also rumors that Davis and James would both opt out next season to create room for the Lakers to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo. With James’ max extension in place, the Lakers will not have room to keep Davis and sign Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021, so this seemingly suggests that the Lakers have removed themselves from the Giannis sweepstakes.
However, this could mean that Davis is more willing to sign a longer deal to remain with the Lakers now that his running mate James is under contract for another three seasons. The most likely outcome is for Davis to sign a 2+1 so that he can opt out after 10 seasons in the NBA to get the full 35% max.
Whatever happens with Davis’ next contract and the Lakers’ 2021 free agency plans, this is a massive win for the team right now. James has brought new life and a title back to Los Angeles, and having the biggest star in the game on the Lakers can only be a good thing.