By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
Whether you’re the type of person who spends half your life watching online videos (i.e. a teenager) or you make occasional forays into the social sphere, chances are that you spotted a clip featuring james lebron this week.
The Los Angeles Lakers star posted footage of him and his two sons – Bronny and Bryce – doing some serious practice work at the team’s facility. It was impressive, in many ways endearing – and a signal of intent.
James doesn’t do much by accident, and over the years there have been countless instances where his interviews, Instagram posts, comments, actions, or clothing choices have come with subliminal subtlety, thinly veiled messages covered with attractive content.
That such a coin came days before the four-time NBA champion became eligible for a contract extension with the Lakers might have been a coincidence. Ha! Yeah maybe.
Only James knows what the message really is, but you can assume it’s some version of an implied statement along the lines of: If the Lakers want James to commit to anything quickly be past the year remaining on his current contract with Tinseltown, so the family had better be part of the deal.
James wanting to play with his eldest son Bronny has been known for a while. He teased it from Bronny’s college days and flatly doubled down earlier this year by stating his final season would be a tandem act.
“My final year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic. “Wherever Bronny is, that’s where I’ll be. I’ll do whatever it takes to play with my son for a year. It’s not about the money then.”
Bronny James is a rising senior at Sierra Canyon High School and is currently slated as a second-round midfielder when he becomes draft eligible in 2024. He would either spend a year in college, play in Australia or test the waters of G League Ignite. after finishing high school.
LeBron reps have ‘productive’ meeting with Lakers brass | UNDISPUTED
LeBron James and his representative Rich Paul met with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday regarding James’ eligible contract extension, according to Dave McMenamin.
LeBron James can sign a two-year extension worth up to $97.1 million, but no more than that because he’s 37 and NBA regulations limit the length of deals with veterans very aged. He and his family are settled in Los Angeles.
Negotiations are ongoing, but it’s reasonable to expect James to seek assurances that the Lakers will do everything they can to get Bronny on board, despite not having a first-round pick in 2024. .
He could, for example, seek them out to bring Bronny into their G League program. He could push for a 1+1 extension with a player option for himself that would essentially make him a free agent again before the summer of 2024.
If that happens, then he could be flexing his celebrity power muscle. Disadvantaged teams could be warned not to bother drafting Bronny if LeBron was unwilling to go.
Or – and this might be the ultimate fatherly support move – he could wait to see how the draft goes, then sign with that team for a lowball, friendly figure.
There is no doubt that James is committed to helping his son fulfill his potential, but there are also fears that his bold statements put pressure on the youngster. Bronny is 6ft 3in but has only grown an inch in the past two years which has seen him slip off some ranking lists.
He is most often seen as a potential NBA player at best.
“[LeBron] I shouldn’t think about what’s in it for me,” FOX Sports’ Chris Broussard said on his “Odd Couple” podcast. “That should be what’s best for Bronny. The best game is to let it develop and be ready. And maybe he will, I’m not saying he won’t.”
Bronny James has 6 million followers on Instagram and is already recognized everywhere he goes. Australian NBL side Sydney Kings have previously said that if he joins, the club will “sell 18,000 seats every night”.
Hiding under the radar, for him, will simply never be an option.
LeBron James eligible for two-year, $97 million extension with Lakers | UNDISPUTED
LeBron James is eligible to sign a two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers starting August 4.
An additional wrinkle in deciphering James’ future puzzle is Bryce, 15, a sophomore, who some scouts believe could end up being a bigger and better prospect than his brother. Could James Sr. somehow carry on until he’s 41 and play with his two sons?
How the contract plays out will give us the clearest view yet of what the rest of James’ career will look like. His relationship with the Lakers doesn’t seem transparent, but a breakup doesn’t seem likely.
In the short term, he wants Kyrie Irving brought in and Russell Westbrook traded. Beyond that, the family part of her wish list is essential.
You can guarantee that he will ask for a lot and, just as likely, he will get it. Because, when you’re one of the NBA’s all-time greats, there’s a simple reason the world asks.
Because you can.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. YesYou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.
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