LA Lakers superstar LeBron James and the franchise have had a massive summer. They overhauled their roster after a disappointing 2021-22 NBA season. The Lakers have brought in fresh legs and youth, something they lacked last year. They possess the oldest roster in the NBA.
On ESPN’s podcast, “The Hoop Collective,” NBA analyst Tim Bontemps spoke about the best direction forward for the Lakers. He believes that would be to re-sign King James on a contract that gives them the financial maneuverability to sign better players. He thinks the Lakers should do what the Philadelphia 76ers did in accordance with James Harden.
“I think the Lakers’ best path to contention is wait for this season to be over and go to LeBron and say, ‘Hey, LeBron, we need you to do what James Harden did and take little less money next summer and allow us the ability to add pieces around you that can actually make us be championship level team.
The analyst continued by talking about how money isn’t the primary goal for LeBron James at this point in his career. James’ top goal is to win more championships.
“At this point in LeBron’s career, beyond the obvious short-term individual accolade of being the all-time scoring leader in the history of the league, winning championships is what he’s set the standard at. Being in the final and winning a championship. To me, that’s completely off the board with this team,” Bontemps concluded.
Is this the best way forward for LA Lakers and LeBron James?
The Lakers currently have little to no cap maneuverability. They have three players on max contracts, with Russell Westbrook earning the highest, making over $47 million for the upcoming season. However, only Anthony Davis remains under contract beyond the summer of 2023.
Kyrie Irving, Khris Middleton, Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Love make up the free agent class for 2023. The Lakers will have two max slots if they move on from Westbrook and sign King James to a less than a max deal.
This decision would allow LeBron James to be surrounded by better players. This would also enable King James to leave the franchise in 2024 when his son is eligible for NBA Draft. All these reasons make it wise for LeBron James and the LA Lakers to copy what Harden and the 76ers did this summer.