Tagged in: rich paul

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James hold ‘productive’ contract extension talks

LeBron James and the Lakers had a “productive” discussion in regards to their future together on Thursday, Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports Group, told ESPN.

No new deal has been agreed upon yet, however, sources said.

James and Paul met with Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka as well as new Lakers coach Darvin Ham in the war room at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, California, on Thursday. It was the first day James was eligible to sign a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers.

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Paul told ESPN he expects both sides to continue a dialogue moving forward.

James is entering his contract’s final year, worth $44.5 million, and will be 38 years old when his current deal is up.

The maximum length of a contract a player aged 38 or older can sign is two years, according to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

James has until June 30 to sign the extension before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

It is probable James could seek a one-year extension, worth $47 million for the 2023-24 season, with an additional year with a player option for 2024-25.

The optionality could be intentional.

His eldest son, Bronny, is entering his senior year of high school, making him NBA eligible in 2024. James has repeatedly stated his wish to team up with his son on an NBA roster before he retires.

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Ben Simmons reports to Philadelphia 76ers

After staying away for the first two weeks of the preseason, 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons reported to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday night, sources told ESPN.

As the Sixers played the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons took a COVID-19 test in the arena, sources said. The initial test starts several days of testing required by the NBA to clear him for a return to the team.

Simmons’ arrival settled several weeks of discussions between the organization and Simmons’ representative, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, to get Simmons back into the marketplace, sources said.

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Simmons had held out in hopes of accelerating a trade. However, under the terms of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, for each preseason game he missed, he lost roughly $360,000 for failing to show up — totaling more than $1 million for the three games that he missed.

In addition, the 76ers could fine Simmons for missed practices: $2,500 for the first, $5,000 for the second, $7,500 for the third and for every practice after that it being left to the discretion of the team, with the ability to go up to $50,000.

Simmons, 25, has four years and $147 million left on his contract.

Simmons hadn’t spoken directly to team officials since a late August meeting in Los Angeles in which he reiterated his desire for a trade, sources said.

He had recently become more open-minded about the possibility of ending his time away from the team and reporting to Philadelphia, but the next step will be him committing to not just a return to the city — but returning the team on the court.

The Sixers have canvassed the league throughout the offseason for trades but have been unable to find a deal that would bring them a comparable star they’d want to continue to build a championship contender around All-NBA center Joel Embiid, sources said.

Those trade talks would likely continue with a Simmons return, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and coach Doc Rivers are hopeful to keep working to convince Simmons on remaining long-term with the franchise, sources said.

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