LeBron James signed a two-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers last summer to further his commitment to the team during a time where there was legitimate speculation that his time in LA would be coming to an end.
As a result of this extension, LeBron is set to make an estimated $46.9 million next season and then he has a player option after the 2023-24 season. If he opts in, he will make an estimated $50.6 million in the same season that he will turn 40.
However, LeBron may no longer be in Los Angeles when he turns 40. That player option is very strategically placed as it lines up with when his son, Bronny James, can come into the league. LeBron has not been shy in expressing his desire to play with Bronny before he retires.
Early in Bronny’s career, it was expected that he would be a late-first-round pick at most and that the Lakers could potentially afford to bring him in to keep LeBron around. That is no longer the case, as some draft evaluators now view him as a top-10 prospect in the 2024 class.
Bronny is not doing the Lakers any favors as he continues to prove these evaluators right with strong performances. Bronny played in the McDonalds All-American game on Tuesday and showcased why so many are excited about his game.
Bronny James continues to push LeBron James away from the Lakers.
Bronny James finished with 15 points, four assists and two steals in 19 minutes of game action. He went 5-8 from three, showcasing not only his ability to shoot the rock but his high basketball IQ as well.
The six-three high school senior is likely going to continue to grow and has all the makings of being a strong perimeter player at the NBA level. He can shoot, he can defend and he has arguably the best mind in basketball history teaching him the game. It is not hard to see why he is quickly rising up the prospect ranks and may continue to do so in college.
This is all bad news to the Lakers, who simply cannot draft Bronny if he continues to climb. The New Orleans Pelicans have the right to either the Lakers’ 2024 or 2025 first-round pick. If Los Angeles is even in the position to draft Bronny they are going to lose the pick as the Pelicans will execute their right to obtain the pick.
Heck, even if the Lakers have a pick in the mid first the Pelicans may prefer to get the pick sooner rather than later and keep the Lakers from trading up into the top 10 to draft Bronny.
Plus, teams in the top 10 are not going to be willing to trade down with the Lakers if it means they lose their chance at Bronny. Drafting Bronny is a guarantee to get LeBron James and probably get him at a discounted price. It might just be for one year but that could do massive things for the organization.
Every time Bronny goes out and continues to impress is further drives home the reality that the 2023-24 season is probably going to be LeBron’s last wearing the purple and gold.