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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

LeBron James

LeBron James agrees to new Lakers contract with interesting detail

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has put to rest any speculation about his future by reaching a new contract agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James’ agent Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that James and the Lakers have a new two-year deal in place with a player option for the 2024-25 season. James can make as much as $111 million over the course of the contract.

James had been entering the final year of his previous contract with the Lakers, sparking some speculation about his future. This will put that firmly to rest.

The player option is easily the most interesting detail of the contract. It will essentially allow James to opt out of his deal just as his son Bronny is due to become draft-eligible in 2024. Based on what we know about James’ ambitions, that probably is not a coincidence.

Though he turns 38 in December, James is still performing at a high level. His 30.3 points per game last season marked one of his best scoring seasons statistically, and the Lakers will essentially go as far as he can take them.

LeBron James addresses college rumor about son Bronny

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James on Tuesday addressed a rumor about his son, Bronny.

A report on Tuesday said that Oregon is the leader to land Bronny when he decides on a college.

LeBron saw the report and addressed it via Twitter later in the evening.

“He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and has only had a few calls with coaches and universities. When Bronny makes his choice you’ll hear it from him,” LeBron wrote.

Bronny is entering his senior season at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, Calif. He is getting close to a time when he will have to make a decision about the college he will want to attend after high school. So the chances are he and his family have given more thought to college than LeBron lets on.

Any decision Bronny makes will make him somewhat of a trailblazer in the family. Remember that LeBron skipped college entered the NBA straight out of high school.

Ex-teammate has interesting take on LeBron James’ legacy

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is probably saying, “Et tu, Brute?” to an old teammate.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson went viral this week for his take on the legacy of James, his teammate on the Cavs from 2015 to 2017, when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers. What set off the debate was an Instagram post by Shaquille O’Neal suggesting that James might be one of the greatest Lakers of all-time.

On an episode this week of “Road Trippin’,” Jefferson came out guns a-blazing against that take.

“LeBron has not done enough as a Laker to be on that list,” said Jefferson. “This is his fourth season [with the Lakers], right? They’ve been there four seasons. Two years, they haven’t made the postseason. One year, they lost in the first round. And one year, they won a championship.

“There hasn’t been a consistent level of greatness,” he went on. “You could win a championship, that’s great. But part of LeBron James being famous for being LeBron James, part of the Lakers organization, is [the] consistent greatness. Not like, oh, one year you’re trash, next year you’re great. No, it’s like, are you consistently those dudes? It just hasn’t intersected [for him on the Lakers].”

Jefferson is right that one championship, though it might on a less-storied franchise, does not make you an all-time great for a Lakers franchise that has won 17 of them. O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson all delivered three or more championships to Los Angeles. Even players from earlier eras (e.g. Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and George Mikan) and more complementary players (e.g. James Worthy, Jamaal Wilkes, and Pau Gasol) are probably comfortably ahead of James when it comes to the greatest Lakers ever.

While James’ story as a Laker is still being written, the fact of the matter is that the team during the James era has been in the litter box more often than they have been in the winner’s circle. Absent further championship wins, James will not go down as an all-time great Laker (though one top figure in the organization already seems to believe that he is).

What will happen to LeBron James with jersey No. 6 now retired?

LeBron James in a jersey

Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA on Thursday announced big news surrounding the late Bill Russell.

The league is retiring jersey No. 6 leaguewide to honor Russell. It’s the first time the NBA has retired a number leaguewide.

Though the news about honoring Russell drew attention, some were wondering what will happen to players who currently wear No. 6, like LeBron James. Here is how it will work.

Players who already wear jersey No. 6 will be allowed to continue wearing the number. But the number will not be allowed to be issued in the future.

Including James, there were 25 players to wear No. 6 last season. Here is the full list of players who will be able to continue wearing the number.

In addition to LeBron, other notable players to wear No. 6 include Kristaps Porzingis and Montrezl Harrell, who are now on the same team. And you can’t forget about fan favorite Alex Caruso, who wears No. 6 for the Bulls.

Some of these players may choose to switch numbers. James has worn No. 23 several times in the past. But if players don’t want to switch, they can continue to wear No. 6.

LeBron James hints at notable offseason move

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Though the NBA season does not start for another two-and-a-half months, LeBron James could be coming to a basketball court near you a lot sooner than that … at least if you live in the Seattle area.

The Los Angeles Lakers star James shouted out Seattle over the weekend for the love and vibrant atmosphere they had for women’s basketball star Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. Bird played the final home game of her WNBA career in the city on Sunday.

“Seattle was rockin’ today for Sue Bird last home game!” tweeted James. “I may have to make a trip up there before summer’s out and get a run in.”

In other words, James is hinting that he could show up to the Seattle area to participate in a pro-am competition. James’ tweet sparked excitement from many locals, including ex-NBA star and Seattle native Jamal Crawford, who runs one particular pro-am league called The CrawsOver.

After a couple of down years thanks to the pandemic, the pro-am circuit is firing on all cylinders again this summer. James himself even played in a different city’s pro-am league last month to many oohs and ahhs.

The four-time MVP pulling up to Seattle, one of the top hotbeds for pickup ball in the country, would definitely be a show-stopper. But James will have to be ready for anything because those games in Seattle can get a lot more intense than you might expect.

Ex-Lakers teammate shares how LeBron James made him a winner

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has a reputation for being able to elevate the play of those around him. One of his former teammates recently helped explain how James is able to get the most out of those around him.

Kyle Kuzma joined the “Draymond Green Show” for an episode published on Thursday. He talked about how he sacrificed his personal stats in order to help the Lakers win. He said that James’ presence and high standards spread to teammates, leading him to become selfless and focus on winning.

“You’re on that team and you see that man being a professional, you’re going to fall in line. Because it’s a certain standard and you don’t want to let someone down who cares so much about winning. You want to be a part of that too,” Kuzma said.

Kuzma noted how he went from being the Lakers’ second-leading scorer in 2018-2019, which was James’ first season with the team, to averaging 12.8 points per game the following season. Kuzma sacrificed his stats and the Lakers ended up winning the championship.

Eventually, Kuzma was traded to Washington as part of a 5-team trade that brought Russell Westbrook to the Lakers. He made $13 million and averaged 17.1 points per game. But his team finished 12 games under .500 and missed the playoffs. Kuzma didn’t have that same veteran leader around that he needed to be on his best for the way he did when teammates with James.

Report: LeBron James has noteworthy meeting with Lakers

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The King is officially holding court this week.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported Thursday that LeBron James and agent Rich Paul met with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka about a possible contract extension. Paul said that the meeting was “productive” and that the two sides will continue dialogue, McMenamin adds.

Thursday marked the day James became eligible to sign a new extension with the Lakers (for two years and up to $97.1 million). He has until June 30, 2023 to reach an extension agreement with the team or else he will become an unrestricted free agent.

James, who turns 38 in December, is currently under contract for just one more guaranteed season at $44.5 million. McMenamin also said during a separate appearance on ESPN that James is no rush to sign an extension and wants to see how the dust settles with the Lakers roster.

The Lakers were rotten horseradish last season, going 33-49 and missing a 20-team NBA postseason. That has led to uncertainty over James’ continued future with the team. The four-time MVP would also like to keep his options open for one particular reason. That is why many believe James may instead sign a 1+1 extension that would lock him in for an additional year with the Lakers but allow him to test free agency in 2024.

LeBron James, Draymond Green appear to poke fun at Antonio Brown in viral clip

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But LeBron James and Draymond Green probably were not doing much flattery in a recent viral clip.

A clip of James and Green hanging out over the weekend in Toronto trended online this week. In the video, the two NBA stars did an interesting dance together, T.Rex-ing their arms to the music. Check it out.

The interpretive dance move was neither original nor coincidence however. Instead, James and Green appeared to be poking fun at infamous ex-NFL receiver Antonio Brown, who did the dance during a performance at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami the previous weekend.

Here is the video for comparison (but beware of bad language in the lyrics).

The 34-year-old Brown appears to be all-in on his rap career after getting himself cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. He even recently shared some big ambitions for his music venture.

The ribbing of Brown here is probably in good fun since he once appeared on James’ HBO show. But James and Green are not the only pro athletes who are roasting Brown over that memeable festival appearance.

Report reveals Cavaliers’ stance on LeBron James reunion

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is entering the final year of his current contract, and there remain questions about how he will handle his next deal. One possible scenario that has been tossed around, however, seems unlikely.

The Cleveland Cavaliers do not have any expectation that James will want to return to the organization for a third time, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. While the Cavaliers would theoretically have the cap space to bring James in next summer, James and his family are happy in Los Angeles, and a return to Ohio seems unlikely.

James sparked speculation in February when he left the door open to an eventual return to Cleveland, where he won an NBA title in 2016. Even then, however, it was said that the Cavaliers simply were not that eager to make that happen again, partly to avoid disrupting the established young core led by Darius Garland.

Even recently, James has been somewhat nostalgic for his Cleveland days. For now, nostalgia appears to be all it will be.

LeBron James’ son Bryce now reportedly listed at surprising height

Bryce James in a T-shirt

Bryce James shoots baskets as LeBron has some halftime advice for his oldest son Bronny in a AAU game at LeBron James Arena on Friday, July 2, 2021 in Akron, Ohio. Credit: PHIL MASTURZO via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Bryce James appears to have eaten some magic beans this summer.

Reports circulated this week that Bryce, the 15-year-old son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, now measures 6-foot-6. That would put Bryce at three inches taller than his older brother Bronny, who is two years older.

The source of the information appears to be a graphic that aired on ESPNU during one of Bryce’s recent games for his Strive For Greatness AAU team.

That marks a serious growth spurt for Bryce, who only turned 15 last month. He plays guard and is about to begin his sophomore year at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, Calif. (where Bronny also attends and will be entering his senior year).

Bryce clearly inherited the height gene from his father, who stands 6-foot-9. Bryce’s 6-foot-6 listing makes perfect sense too in the context of the recent photos of him that went viral.