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Jeanie Buss: I want to see LeBron retire as a Laker

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / Getty

LeBron James reaffirmed his commitment to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, inking a two-year, $97.1-million contract extension instead of testing free agency next year.

If Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has her way, the four-time Finals MVP will remain in Hollywood for the remainder of his playing days.

"With LeBron, we have a line of communication between the two of us, and he knows that he can reach me any time and vice-versa," Buss told Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck on a recent episode of "The Crossover" podcast. "And I think he feels appreciated. I know I appreciated that he signed an extension to stay here and continue to lead the Laker team.

"He's a fantastic leader both on and off the court, and I feel like we're blessed to have him as a Laker. I want to see him retire as a Laker."

James' new deal includes a $50.7-million player option for the 2024-25 campaign. The Akron, Ohio, native hasn't been shy about potentially playing alongside his son Bronny, who is a four-star recruit in the class of 2023 and is draft-eligible the following year.

James joined the Lakers in free agency four years ago. The former No. 1 overall pick has continued to play at an elite level since moving to the West Coast, averaging 27 points, 8.2 assists, 8.0 boards, and 1.2 steals during his tenure in Los Angeles. He registered a league-leading 10.2 dimes per contest in 2019-20 and led the Lakers to their 17th NBA title that same season.

James will likely surpass franchise icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this upcoming campaign as the Association's all-time leading scorer, and Buss takes a lot of pride knowing that he'll do so donning the purple and gold.

"(LeBron) will probably become the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA, which would break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record. ... I'll never forget when he did that, and Chick Hearn said, 'This is a record that will never be broken,' and here we are," Buss said. "Somebody who is going to break it in a Laker uniform. And that has a lot of meaning to the organization and to me personally."

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