On Thursday, LeBron James became eligible to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. Although that extension hasn't been worked out yet, James and the Lakers have until June 30 of next year to figure things out.
According to an ESPN report, James met with the Lakers' front office on Thursday to discuss his future with the team. That discussion was described as being "productive" by James' Klutch Sports agent, Rich Paul. Talks are expected to continue, but how long will the Lakers go without a commitment from James before they consider trading him?
Years ago, the Dallas Mavericks were interested in James. The approach by owner Mark Cuban and then-GM Donnie Nelson was a subtle and polite one. It failed ... because the "approach'' was never approached. Dallas never really got an audience with "The King.''
"Why not?'' we asked Donnie, who kindly explained by using words like "protocol'' and "improprieties'' and "going through channels.''
That was then.
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This is now.
There is no room for being polite.
We explain here the pipe-dream scenario that would team LeBron with Luka Doncic, and we make the "pipe dream'' portion of this quite clear. But now we add this: Over the years, we've seen teams/players recruit using banana boats, and by locking up guys in their homes, and by organizing secret lunches (Pat Riley!), and by arranging for players to become Hollywood producers (wink-wink), and most recently by simply and blatantly tampering with a player (Jalen Brunson).
Meanwhile, what the Mavs are left with are ... good table manners?
The Mavs don't just need to call the Lakers about a potential trade ... but someone needs to call LeBron and check on the level of his disgruntlement given how the last two seasons have gone with his current team. Have lunch with his barber. Call a friend of a friend. Or hell, just go bang on his door.
LeBron may love living in Los Angeles full-time, but if he hopes to continue adding to his collection of four NBA championship rings, he will likely have to do it with a new team. At 37 years old, LeBron is still very much "that guy," as he averaged 30 points per game last season ... but the clock is officially ticking, and all eyes will be on his contract extension situation with the Lakers over the coming weeks and months.