NBA exec: Anthony Davis’ extension ‘paves the way’ for LeBron James to finish career with Lakers

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read

Anthony Davis’ recent contract extension may have determined LeBron James’ future as well, with one executive saying it “paves the way” for the 38-year-old superstar to finish his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis recently agreed to a three-year extension worth $186.6 million that could keep the 30-year-old with the Lakers through the 2027-28 NBA season. He and James are both represented by Klutch Sports.

“You sign AD to this deal, there is the Klutch connection there, and LeBron has a certain level of responsibility for what Davis does with the Lakers,” the executive told Sean Deveney of “So of course, there is communication there. If LeBron was going to leave, that would change the conversation.

“Now, AD can change his mind if LeBron leaves the Lakers down the road and ask for a trade — everyone’s doing that now, right?— but the message to LeBron is that they want him there and AD signing that is a message, too. It paves the way for these two guys to stay together for the foreseeable.”

James would be 43 years old when Davis’ extension expires, so it is possible but unlikely he would play for its entirety. But James now knows how long he could have Davis as a teammate if he so chooses.

It’s been another dramatic offseason for the NBA icon, starting with hints of retirement after a discouraging loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals and followed by the announcement that he will indeed return to play a 21st NBA season.

That then all took a backseat to the news that his son Bronny had suffered a cardiac arrest while working out for the University of Southern California. The younger James is recovering but it is unknown if or when he will be able to play basketball again.

The elder James has repeatedly said it is his desire to play with his son in the NBA, preferably on the same team but possibly as opponents. It would seem that the younger James’ future could have more impact on his father’s plans than Davis’ new contract, but that all remains to be seen.

The elder James has one season remaining on his contract with a player option for the 2024-25 season, which seemingly allows him flexibility that could align with his son’s ability to enter the NBA.

Davis received his record extension despite a long injury history and having played more than 60 regular season games only once in the past five seasons. But he was instrumental in helping the Lakers’ late-season rally and playoff run, and the team is willing to believe he can continue to perform at that level as he ages.

He and the elder James helped the Lakers win the 2020 NBA championship and are set up to try again for another title, at least for one more season and possibly several more.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.