Bleacher Report’s NBA insider Jake Fischer reportedly thinks that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is “as good as gone” if he doesn’t extend his deal with Los Angeles this offseason.
Jake Fischer: If Lebron doesn’t extend with Lakers this summer, I think he’s as good as gone
Via Halftime app
— Ralph Mason (@Ralph_MasonJr) February 22, 2022
James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season, but James recently confirmed that he is willing to leave the Lakers to eventually play with his son in the NBA.
The 2021-22 season has not gone as the Lakers had planned, as the team’s trade for Russell Westbrook has not worked out.
In addition, James’ running mate Anthony Davis has been sidelined by multiple injuries so far this season that have severely limited the Lakers’ ceiling as a team.
The Lakers entered the All-Star break with a 27-31 record. They are the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference and are in danger of playing in the league’s play-in tournament for the second straight season.
Clearly, Fischer thinks that James would reach free agency if he doesn’t agree to an extension with Los Angeles this offseason, and he’d be an unrestricted free agent following the 2022-23 campaign. That gives James the freedom to sign anywhere, and he’s shown that he will leave for a better situation multiple times in his storied career.
This season, James has played at an MVP-caliber level when he’s been healthy, as he’s averaging 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lakers will be faced with a tough decision next season if James indicates that he’s going to leave, as the team will have to figure out who will lead the franchise after him.
With Davis’ injury troubles and Westbrook’s ineffectiveness, the Lakers are lacking the star power to truly contend in the West at this time.