Lakers open to 3-year extension for LeBron James, drafting Bronny: Sources

LeBron James’ name might not be etched into the Hollywood Walk of Fame (yet), but it is embedded in Los Angeles history. And Lakers owner Jeanie Buss wants to see the James name stay, and potentially double, in the City of Angels.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha reported early Tuesday morning that Buss and the Lakers want LeBron — who will decide whether to opt into his 2024-25 $51.4 million player option by June 29 — back. Badly.



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The 39-year-old NBA luminary is expected to play up to two more seasons, one source briefed on LeBron’s thinking told The Athletic. But the Lakers are open to discussing any deal that would intrigue LeBron to return for his seventh season in L.A. — after the Lakers’ season ended at the hands of the Denver Nuggets for the second straight season on Monday— including the maximum three-year, $164 million extension they can offer, team sources told The Athletic.

And there’s another carrot to entice the king: the Lakers’ willingness to draft LeBron’s son Bronny in June, which the franchise is very open to, team sources said. LeBron has long expressed a desire to play with his son in the pros, famously telling The Athletic in 2022: “My last year (in the NBA) will be played with my son.”

LeBron modified that sentiment in 2023, telling ESPN his goal would also be realized playing with Bronny “either in the same uniform or (in) a matchup against him.”

Bronny entered the 2024 NBA Draft in early April while maintaining his college eligibility. The 19-year-old guard played his freshman season at USC in 2023-24, averaging 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.4 minutes per game. He missed the first month of the season working his way back after suffering cardiac arrest last July.

Bronny also entered the transfer portal to have flexibility as he works out for NBA teams before making a final decision based on teams’ evaluations and feedback.

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Bronny James greets LeBron James before a USC basketball game at Galen Center on Jan. 6, 2024. (Photo: Meg Oliphant / Getty Images)

As for LeBron, it is highly likely he’ll wait to see how the team manages the offseason and which players it brings in as reinforcements for him and Anthony Davis.

James’ player-option deadline is sandwiched between June 26, the NBA Draft, and June 30, the opening of free agency.

In his six years as a Laker, LeBron has averaged 27.1 points per game in the regular season and has accumulated 9,436 of his more than NBA-record 40,474 career regular-season points. In his four postseason trips in gold and purple, he’s averaged 25.7 points per game and helped lead the Lakers to an NBA title in 2020.

“He’s not the problem here,” one high-ranking Lakers official said of LeBron.

He is, in the eyes of L.A. after another playoff ouster, the antithesis of such.

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(Photo: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

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