Jeanie Buss: Lakers want LeBron James to stay ‘as long as he wants’
LeBron James surely has shown no signs of slowing down in the midst of his 18th NBA season, to say the least.
With that in mind, Jeanie Buss recently insisted it will be up to the superstar, not the team, when it comes to how long he remains with the Los Angeles Lakers organization.
Appearing on ESPN’s “First Take” this week, Buss, the Lakers CEO and governor, opened up on how she envisions James’ run with the iconic organization proceeding and ultimately coming to a close.
.@JeanieBuss on how long she anticipates LeBron James playing in the NBA:— First Take (@FirstTake) March 8, 2021
"LeBron said something the other day about how he probably won't play when he's 46. So maybe somewhere between now and 46—so another 10 years? Whatever he wants to do." pic.twitter.com/vjv56IpL7A
“It is like a really good match. We want him to stay around as long as he wants to stay around,” Buss said of James, as transcribed by Clutch Points. “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played till he was 42. LeBron said something the other day how he probably won’t play when he’s 46. So maybe somewhere between now and 46, so another 10 years, whatever he wants to do.
“We love having him, I have to say he drafted a really good All-Star team yesterday. He knows basketball, he’s competitive. We’re having a lot of fun having him around, the one thing that’s missing are the fans.”
As the 2020-21 NBA season was set to get underway in December, James inked a two-year, $85 million contract extension with L.A. It ties the superstar to the Lakers through the 2022-23 season. James will be 38 when his current deal expires.
As mentioned, not only is James thriving at age 36, he continues to dominate a league that has long been known as a young man’s game. While the superstar keeps putting up MVP-caliber seasons, James admitted last month that he’s unsure how long he’ll continue to suit up in the NBA.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to play the game,” James said. “I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to give to the game, but the way I feel right now, we’ll see what happens. I have no timetable on it. … The game will let me know when it’s time.”
Concerning Buss’ comments this week, it hardly comes as a surprise that she spoke hopefully of James potentially remaining with the Lakers for a long time. After all, his leadership and outstanding play led to the Lakers breaking a 10-year championship drought in the Orlando, Fla., bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Interestingly enough, however, the Lakers owner actually had to push back at naysayers and critics when the organization originally signed James back in 2018. Those skeptical Lakers fans obviously are eating crow now.