The Lakers aren’t 17-time NBA champions by accident.
Yes, they have the unparalleled privilege of having the best players in the league routinely force trades to their team, or just sign outright as free agents, but they also take exceptional care of their superstars even when they’re well past their primes. (I would imagine that my beloved Orlando Magic would do the same, but alas, players would rather swallow scissors or binge-watch Iggy Azalea freestyles than sign there.)
Magic Johnson infamously returned to the court during the 1995-96 NBA season after missing four years due to HIV, and he’s held a myriad of roles within the organization since his retirement, from coach to the former president of basketball operations despite being woefully inexperienced. There’s also Kobe Bryant, who spent his last few seasons stinking it up on the court while remaining one of the highest-paid players in the league.
So perhaps eager to carry on tradition and not fuck up a good thing, ESPN reports that the Lakers have
used their PPP small business loan and signed LeBron James to a two-year, $85 million extension. Because of course, they did.
As a result of this deal, King James, who turns 36 this month—and is still somehow the best damn player in the entire league—will collect $39.2 million this season, $41.1 million in 2021-22, and more money than I will ever make in my Black-ass life in 2022-23. Of additional note, that sum will propel his NBA career earnings to an otherworldly $435 million. And did I mention that he’ll be a free agent just in time for his oldest son, Bronny, to become NBA draft-eligible in 2023?
I didn’t? Oh.
Coming off of a championship season, the Lakers are making a smart play and this exactly the type of shit that will keep Anthony Davis on the payroll for the foreseeable future. It’s also the type of move that could entice disgruntled stars like Bradley Beal or even Giannis Antetokounmpo to make a move out West in order to be treated like royalty.
I despise the Lakers with every molecule in my body—every single damn one; I counted—but they know what the hell they’re doing. Let us hope and pray my Magic finally peek over their shoulder and just copy their paper.