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LA Lakers star LeBron James decided to a two-year, $97.1 million extension Wednesday, but he reportedly isn’t content with hawaii of the team.
Based on the Athletic’s Jovan Buha, James “has been privately adamant that the Lakers still have to enhance the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.”
Irving found his $36.9 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this offseason, but he’s remained the main topic of trade speculation. Previous reports indicated the Lakers and Nets at one point were negotiating a swap involving Irving and point guard Russell Westbrook, who’s set to create $47.1 million this year.
Buha noted that before James decided to his extension, there is a fear he could make an effort to pressure the Lakers to create a move, but those feelings were alleviated Wednesday:
“There is a belief among some that James might avoid signing the extension quickly as a leverage play. James couldve twisted the Lakers proverbial arm, applying pressure to produce a trade, like the way he’s got operated previously. Instead, he committed for at the very least another two seasons, no matter if the Lakers trade Russell Westbrook or how they fare this year.”
While a trade for Irving doesn’t appear imminent, it isn’t a surprise that James is targeted on improving the Lakers. LA fell lacking the playoffs last season after finishing with a disappointing 33-49 record. The team hired Darvin Ham as its new head coach, however the core of the roster remained exactly the same, as there weren’t many notable free-agent additions.
James and the Lakers can look to have the season started on the proper foot if they open the 2022-23 campaign on Oct. 18 contrary to the defending champion Golden State Warriors.