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New Lakers coach Darvin Ham calls LeBron James extension ‘huge’

Jim Trotter and Michael Holley react to the Lakers trading for Patrick Beverley and argue that the move doesn't fix what ails L.A.'s roster.

The Lakers are LeBron James’ team.

Which is why — certainly on the court, but more importantly at the box office for the business — LeBron is worth every penny of the $97.1 million he signed with the Lakers this summer. Don’t take my word for it, check out what new Lakers coach Darvin Ham said about the extension to Tomer Azarly of

“It’s huge, man,” Darvin Ham told ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview. “It’s huge. LeBron is a once-in-a-lifetime player. You only get so many players. Not even so many. You have Bill Russell, you have Wilt Chamberlain, you have Dr. J, you have Moses Malone, you had Larry Bird, Magic [Johnson], you had [Michael] Jordan, you had Allen Iverson, Shaq [O’Neal], Kobe [Bryant], and now it’s LeBron’s time...

“It’s once-in-a-lifetime type player that’s gonna be mentioned with the greats and mentioned as THE greatest,” Ham continued. “The things that he was facing coming out of high school and things he had to endure and conquer. He’s passed all tests with flying colors.”

Another testament to LeBron’s greatness is that heading into his age 37 season, nobody is questioning if he will be an All-NBA level contributor to the Lakers. The questions around Los Angeles are about Russell Westbrook and his fit, if Anthony Davis is up to being the No. 1 option for an entire season, do they have enough depth? LeBron being great is a given.

But as great as he is on the court, he is more critical to the Lakers as a business. LeBron fills Arena, he draws in television audiences, he is the guy team sponsors pay to have their name near, he drives business. As much as he makes under the salary cap ($44.5 million this season, then the extension kicks in), he is worth far, far more than that to the Lakers business and brand.

Ham is right, it is huge for the Lakers that LeBron re-signed. Now they just have to answer all those other questions.