LeBron James is about to enter the final year of his current contract with the Lakers. The four-time NBA champion will earn $44.5 million next season. His teammate Anthony Davis will be making $37.9 million.
A significant part of Los Angeles’ salary cap is spent on the two superstars, limiting the team’s options of players that can be signed around them. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, James should follow James Harden and take a pay cut in order to give more flexibility to the Lakers.
“I think the hole up here is that for LeBron James it only makes sense to wait, right? If you look at the situation the Lakers are in, we’ve talked ad nauseam about it, they don’t have enough salary cap space to go out and fill in the roster around him and Anthony Davis,” Bontemps said on ESPN’s NBA Today.
“And the one they have to do that is for LeBron to wait till next summer, opt out of his contract and, like James Harden this summer with Philly, take a little bit less money and allow them to fill in around him and Anthony Davis on this roster.
“If he signs a max extension this summer, the Lakers are stuck in the exact same situation they are now and they are in they’re going to be in the that situation going forward because they have no other contracts on the roster to trade, they have no other way to create salary to go get other players on the roster.
“So, to me if I’m LeBron and the Lakers and I’m working together for best path forward, that to me is the only best path forward is to wait until next summer opt out, give the Lakers the flexibility out around him and then fill in a number later on – just exactly what the Sixers did they allowed them to get PJ Tucker, Danuel House this summer.”