The Los Angeles Lakers are at the epicenter of all NBA conversations. It began with Dan Hurley, the two-time NCAA championship-winning head coach ditching the franchise to return to UConn. But apart from their head coaching quest is the sensitive future of LeBron James. Even as a 39-year-old, the King was explosive, productive, and redefining his longevity. In the coming offseason, the 20-time All-Star is left with a choice, to either ride the loyalty train with the Lakers or dip into a better situation. He can decline his player option for next season in LA and rope $164 million for three years. In the world of record-breaking contracts, James’ effervescent play comes at one of the highest prices. But is it possible to sign him for the same price as Eric Gordon?

Previous reports suggested the explosive veteran forward could follow his son Bronny James to the team that drafts him. He reverberated his desire to play with his elder son. Those claims have since been revised and corrected by LeBron James. Yet, the NBA team doesn’t seem fully convinced. There is still a feeble impulse that suggests his fatherly role will compel him to stand by his 19-year-old son. But does the money matter at this stage in his career, when James is already a billionaire and has multiple avenues of generating millions without the help of his contract?

To discuss the variable possibilities, our NBA correspondent Vishal Kolar invited over Shaq’s former agent Leonard Armato yet again. The savvy brand builder explained how vital a role the value of a contract can play at this juncture of James’ career.


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Vishal: “I was going to say as a Suns fan there’s all these reports of Bronny only doing a workout with Phoenix and the Lakers. And the Suns have the 22md pick and the media is running rampant with like ‘This is the way Phoenix can get LeBron to sign a vet minimum and things like that. I know it’s fun for a fanbase but I think when you are part of the business right and you are actually looking from it from that standpoint, that’s so outlandish right? It’s like they are not in the business of just handing out these contracts and making these moves if you can’t play and seriously contribute on the team.” 

Armato: “No no no. Interesting though when they talk about LeBron signing a minimum contract. The good news is though, Bron doesn’t need the money”. 

Vishal: “I was going to say. I definitely see the motivation from the fans getting excited because I was like ‘Yeah, I don’t think he is going to care too much about that salary difference. But hey, I don’t want to count somebody’s pockets. I heard he still doesn’t pay for Spotify premium and he’s very frugal”. 

Armato: “Maybe he’s one of those people who is really really cautious, financially. I can’t really speak for him”

For next season, the veteran minimum stands at somewhere in the ballpark of $3.3 million. It’s the only possible deal the Suns can offer him, having four players earning more than $30 million on their roster. Even if James were to simply opt into the player option with the Lakers, he would be guaranteed to earn $51 million. That’s $47 million more without accounting for the possible upgrades he could be offered by any other team if he were to test the free agency market. It’s life-changing money for any person, irrespective of their net worth.

But then again, the fact is he doesn’t need the money. The ludicrous contracts don’t motivate him anymore. He has plenty of resources to supplement the sacrifice. Amongst all NBA players, James earns the highest amount from endorsement standing at $80 million this season according to Sportico. He has a lifetime contract with Nike (reportedly worth $1 billion), his own SpringHill production company, and several other brands giving him millions to promote their products. If anything, he will save heavily on the amount of tax he has to pay while living in an expensive neighborhood in Los Angeles.

It would also team him up with the three-headed scoring trio of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal on top of getting the opportunity to share the court with his son. Just the list of perks builds an unavoidable allure around the prospect. But James has also dedicated his loyalty to the Purple and Gold pledging to retire a Laker.


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Ultimately, it will all come down to the offseason moves Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss will make to improve the competitiveness of the current Laker roster, which was nowhere near the staggering standards of the storied franchise. If that isn’t done, we might see James forego his player option on 29th June and hunt for another location to set base.

LeBron James has also been conservative

As a man worth nearly $2 billion now, a bystander would expect LeBron James to live a life of luxury. He might have all the premium apps, and no hassle of watching advertisements because those payments seem inconsequential. Yet at heart, the kid from Akron is still living the life of his childhood.


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After hosting the “Live with Kelly” show in 2016, Dwyane Wade revealed James as the “cheapest” NBA player he knows. A few months later, LeBron James himself admitted to his stingy habits. His teammate from Cleveland, Kevin Love even said he refuses to use data on roaming when traveling on the road. “That drive from the airport and going through customs to then getting to our hotel, yeah, there’s no data used at all. He’s waiting for the Wi-Fi all the time”, the former Cavaliers admitted.

That’s the way LeBron James lives. No matter how successful or wealthy he is, his humility never waves. That’s it from this segment of our chat with Armato. Be sure to look out for more exciting stories from the interview in the coming days.