The real reason LeBron James claimed he’d take a pay cut for Lakers

The real reason LeBron James claimed he’d take a pay cut for Lakers

Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Looking To Sign New Contract With Franchise  After Opting Out

For star small forward LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who are running out of alternatives and obviously need to shuffle their lineup, not much has happened so far in the free agency process. James recently chose to forego his player option in favor of signing a new contract with the Lakers that will keep him in the team through his 40th season. The Lakers are coming off of their second straight playoff exit at the hands of the Denver Nuggets.

James might be willing to accept a pay decrease if the Lakers were able to entice a big-name free agent like James Harden or Klay Thompson, according to recent reports from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. However, since both of those options are no longer available, it seems likely that the star will sign for the highest contract possible.

Currently, some NBA insiders are conjecturing that James’ camp may have purposefully leaked the information in order to gain public favor.

“If it turns out well, it’s the most selfless act ever—the Lakers have gotten back into the running for the championship by adding one mid-level player and trading away D’Angelo Russell for draft picks—all thanks to LeBron James’ willingness to give back to the team. If they don’t succeed in doing so, though, he gets to keep all of his money and admit, ‘Guys, I messed up.'” You didn’t receive any players, thus I would have accepted a wage decrease. On the Hoop Collective Podcast, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps conjectured, “It seems like a great setup.”

Additionally, Bontemps discussed why, in his opinion, the Lakers’ inability to get Klay Thompson ended up being advantageous for the team.

LeBron James set to opt of Lakers player option: Is he expected to return  to Los Angeles? | Marca

“Leakers avoided a major setback by not pursuing this Klay Thompson situation,” stated Bontemps. “This move would not have made them any kind of serious contender to anything except maybe get into the top six, maybe,” the statement reads. “It’s not that Klay Thompson can’t play.”

Now, what are the Lakers doing?

James Harden, Paul George, and Klay Thompson have all signed new deals, so Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ management are rapidly running out of ways to reorganize this team. DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls is by far the biggest name still available in the free agent market. However, with JJ Redick, the team’s analytically skilled head coach, having just taken over, it’s reasonable to wonder how DeRozan’s affinity for the mid range would mesh—or not—with Redick’s three-point heavy playmaking philosophy.

LeBron James considering retirement after Los Angeles Lakers swept by  Denver Nuggets – 'I've got a lot to think about' | CNN

The Lakers, as they stand right now, are arguably the eighth or ninth best team in the West, and that doesn’t even take into consideration any potential improvements this season from the San Antonio Spurs or the Memphis Grizzlies. In the final years of the (arguable) GOAT’s career, Los Angeles has been stuck in basketball purgatory due to a string of disastrous roster decisions made since winning the title in 2020, some of which he is said to have led.

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