The Los Angeles Lakers are in for a difficult offseason. They need to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with more pieces, but they lack the cap space and draft picks to do so.
At the very least, when he was healthy, James had an MVP-caliber season. However, he isn’t getting any younger, and relying on him to lead the charge in the future might not be the best bet for the front office.
To make matters worse, it appears that The King is unwilling to commit unless he sees some progress. That’s why he won’t sign a contract extension until he knows the Lakers have a plan in place.
Will LeBron James sign an extension?
“The Lakers were paralyzed at the trade deadline without clarity from James, and they remain so. The star forward is eligible for an extension on August 4, but most of the team’s moves will need to happen in June and July,” Pinus said.
“The Lakers are stuck without a commitment from James, whose contract expires after the 2022-23 season. Competing executives and agents do not expect the team to get clarity from James ahead of the draft and free agency,” Pinus added.
18th All-NBA honor in his 19th season.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 25, 2022
Lakers need to get rid of Russell Westbrook
Making moves, on the other hand, will be easier said than done. Russell Westbrook will eat up nearly $47 million in cap space, effectively preventing them from making any moves. It’s also unlikely that he’ll be traded because no one will take on that massive contract.
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 30, 2021
“The Lakers will only have a $6.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts to spend to add talent if they retain Westbrook. That may not be enough to bring back Malik Monk with several other teams armed with at least the $10.3 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception (NTMLE),” Pinus stated.
Ironically, it was LeBron who pushed the Lakers to make the trade for Westbrook rather than Buddy Hield. That same move could now spell the end of his time in Southern California.