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Brian Windhorst Reveals LeBron James’ Plans for Next Contract

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts after a play during the second quarter of the game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center.

We have all heard how Father Time is undefeated. Don’t tell that to LeBron James.

The 39-year-old has a player option for over $51 million next season. While there has been no word about whether he will pick it up or move on to free agency, the latter seems more likely.

According to Brian Windhorst on ESPN’s First Take, James will be looking for the Los Angeles Lakers to give him a multi-year deal in the offseason worth nine figures.

Brian Windhorst Reveals LeBron James’ Plans for Next Contract

Still Productive in Year 21

Now in his 21st NBA season, James is still producing at a high rate. In 51 games, the all-time scoring leader is posting averages of 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists. He is shooting 52.4% from the field and 40.1% from three-point territory. Only once in his 20 previous seasons did he connect on more than 40% of his three-point tries.

While still productive, he may not quite be the force he once was that almost yearly guaranteed his team one of the best records in the NBA. The Lakers currently sit at 31-28, ninth in the Western Conference. Last season, they finished 43-39, seventh in the West, before making a run to the Western Conference Finals.

More Injury-Prone With Age

James has mostly been able to stay on the court this season. Los Angeles has played in 59 games, and he appeared in 51 of them.

That hasn’t always been the case recently, though. As he nears 40, his tenure with the Lakers has frequently seen him away from the court in what is now his sixth season with the team.

Missed games:

  • 2022-23: 27
  • 2021-22: 26
  • 2020-21: 27 (72-game season)
  • 2019-20: 4 (71-game season)
  • 2018-19: 27

So James has been forced to miss a decent chunk of time in four of his last five seasons. Would the injuries continue to pile up in his 40s? A three-year deal would have him under contract until he’s 42. His next contract isn’t allowed to be for more than four years due to the NBA’s over-38 rule.

A multi-year deal would allow James to break yet another record: most seasons played in the NBA. He is currently tied for second with his 21, along with Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki. Vince Carter’s 22 seasons are the most in NBA history.

It is well-documented how much James invests in caring for his body, so we all will have to see how much longer he can fend off Father Time.


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