LeBron James has now inked a two-year contract extension that could keep him with the Los Angeles Lakers through the 2024-25 season, but he still doesn’t seem content with the roster around him.
He wants the team to continue to go after Kyrie Irving, and it has let him know it is now willing to give up two future first-round draft picks in order to become a championship contender again.
“L.A. has nonetheless pledged to James that it will indeed continue to aggressively pursue upgrades,” wrote NBA reporter Marc Stein on his Substack. “League sources say James, in fact, has been assured that the Lakers are willing to trade both of their available future first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 if a trade that costs them both picks can realistically position the Lakers to return to contender status.”
The Lakers and Brooklyn Nets engaged in trade talks earlier this summer to bring Irving to L.A. However, they reportedly went nowhere, and one reason why was the Lakers’ unwillingness to give up more than one first-round draft pick.
More recently, things have been relatively quiet on the trade front for Brooklyn. Its other big star Kevin Durant also wants out, and although the team seems open to trading him, it doesn’t seem to be in any particular rush to do so.
It is generally believed that Durant would have to be dealt first before the Nets would send Irving to the Lakers.
Another deal L.A. has been rumored to be interested in is sending Russell Westbrook to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. However, that trade may not improve the team as much as James would want.
As is, L.A. is certainly not a title contender, although it has improved in a few areas. It is considerably younger than it was last season when it had one of the oldest rosters anyone could remember seeing, and its center rotation has considerably improved.