NBA News: LeBron James Wants Lakers To Improve Their Roster Before Signing An Extension

LeBron James
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Ernesto Cova

The Los Angeles Lakers weren't worried about jeopardizing their future to pair Anthony Davis with LeBron James, and it sure paid off during their first season together.

But The King isn't getting any younger, Davis can't shake off his injuries, and Russell Westbrook's contract is a massive headache for salary cap purposes. That's a huge issue as they enter this key offseason.

James Won't Make A Decision Soon

LeBron James
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James' contract will expire after this season and while he's stated that he'd like this to be his final stop, he could still change his mind. And, according to Eric Pinus of Bleacher Report, he won't make a decision until he sees the Lakers can actually improve their roster:

"The Lakers are stuck without a commitment from James, whose contract expires after the 2022-23 season. Competing executives and agents do not expect the team to get clarity from James ahead of the draft and free agency," Pinus reported.

They Need Him On Board

LeBron James
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LeBron could help the Lakers by telling them his intentions soon. If not, it would be tricky to make any big moves without a commitment from their best player going forward:

"James could help make decisions easier if he verbally commits to an additional two seasons, timing his contract with Anthony Davis through 2024-25," Pinus added. "Unpleasant salary is easier to digest in trade if the Lakers are reinvested in James with Davis. The last thing the team would want to do is eat up its 2023-24 cap space on players it doesn't value with James leaving as an unrestricted free agent."

His Decision Will Be The First Domino To Fall

LeBron James
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But if James affirms his desire to say, then the front office could consider moving draft picks alongside Russell Westbrook and put a better surrounding cast around him:

"The fear is similar in trading draft picks. If James were guaranteed to stick around another couple of seasons, L.A. might consider bigger moves like trading picks to get out of Westbrook for viable talent," Pinus added.

Their Options Are Limited

LeBron James
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But if the Lakers were to keep Westbrook, then their options to bring in any other player would be quite limited due to salary cap limitations:

"The Lakers will only have a $6.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts to spend to add talent if they retain Westbrook. That may not be enough to bring back Malik Monk with several other teams armed with at least the $10.3 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception," the report concluded.

The ball's on your court, LeBron. What are you gonna do?