Does LeBron James' Extension Rupture Lakers' Hopes for Giannis Antetokounmpo?

Mark J. Terrill/Associated PressIf the Los Angeles Lakers still have designs on adding Giannis Antetokounmpo to a core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that longest of long shots got even longer with news that James will sign a two-year extension and Davis intends to sign for five years, per ESPN.Per Shams Charania of The Athletic…

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, tries to get past Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

If the Los Angeles Lakers aloof have designs on adding Giannis Antetokounmpo to a core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that longest of long shots got even longer with news that James will signal a two-12 months extension and Davis intends to signal for five years, per ESPN.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, James' modern address the Lakers will bustle thru 2022-23. Plenty for the belief that James can also deem a $10-15 million slash ticket subsequent offseason to originate room for Antetokounmpo. James can also fair have taken a haircut to hitch the Miami Heat with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010, nonetheless history will no longer repeat.

And why ought to aloof it? The Lakers have already got a championship squad, one they've improved upon over the offseason with the additions of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews. Now that Davis has re-signed, Los Angeles ought to be a standard to repeat.

Loads of the crew's success stems from its relationship with James and his agent, Properly off Paul of Klutch Sports activities. Signing Harrell some distance off from the Los Angeles Clippers can also fair were a shock to many, nonetheless ought to aloof it were? Klutch appears to on a typical foundation funnel gamers to the Lakers (take care of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker, Harrell and Davis—and previously JR Smith and Dion Waiters).

And the plot in which would taking thousands and thousands out of James' effectively-earned future contract work for Klutch Sports activities, when that money would run perhaps to one other agent's superstar? The easy resolution: Not going down.

Nonetheless the James extension does elevate other questions.

Why no longer extend James beyond the 2022-23 season?

The apparent resolution would appear to be his son Bronny James, the high school sophomore at Sierra Canyon. If the NBA revises the one-and-completed rule (which is in negotiation, even supposing a lower precedence because the league and Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation work together to acquire thru the pandemic), James the youthful would be draft-eligible in 2023.

Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh

Let’s jabber it’s 2023. You serve the No. 1 get in 2023 NBA Draft. LeBron is a free agent, aloof All-NBA. His son Bronny is eligible for the Draft.

How high would Bronny need to be in your Tall Board to elaborate taking him No. 1 in clarify to presumably acquire LeBron, too? 5th? 30th? 100th?

"I damn sure would luxuriate in to stay spherical if my oldest son can have a risk to play in opposition to me," James if truth be told helpful Mark Anthony Green of GQ in 2017. "That'd be, that'd be the icing on the cake perfect there."

Maybe that dream has evolved from competing in opposition to his son to sharing a locker room?

Or no longer it is miles a sweet story, nonetheless the resolution is a little bit of of more technical. James would possibly perhaps perhaps be 38 years archaic when the 2023-24 advertising campaign begins. One in every of the advanced suggestions within the NBA's collective bargaining settlement has language to dissuade teams from giving out four- or five-12 months deals to gamers who would possibly perhaps perhaps be over 38 all thru the contract.

James doubtless opted out of the final 12 months of his fresh contract, which had him making $41 million, to replace that 12 months with a minute bump as much as $41.2 million, while adding one other season at about $44.5 million. An extension begins with the sizzling season. Including two more years enabled James to lock in one other $44.7 million (approximately) without triggering the over-38 rule.

He got as much because the Lakers would possibly perhaps perhaps be in a station to present. That it will also fair time completely with his son's potential entry to the NBA is a bonus. If no longer, James can also need to signal one other one-12 months deal.

Does the Lakers' Dream of Giannis Die?

Potentially. The Lakers chasing cap room in 2021 became as soon as continuously specious. The crew petitioned the league to acquire Luol Deng's ineffective $10 million off its books, nonetheless to no avail. The Lakers opted no longer to stretch the waived contracts of Quinn Cook dinner and Jordan Bell, saving an further $526,687 of potential cap house subsequent summer.


Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

As one more, their blended $1.6 million in waived salary will quit the Lakers from signing a 15th player to originate the season (the crew is onerous-capped at $138.9 million after the utilize of its non-taxpayer mid-stage exception on Harrell). Or no longer it is miles a non everlasting state that will unravel itself in a pair of months. Because the price of a minimal contract prorates downward day after day, that final keep would possibly perhaps perhaps be archaic so as to add one other player on the buyout market months down the road.

After re-signing Jared Dudley, the Lakers are at 13 gamers with passable room for one more (nonetheless no longer two). They even have a pair of gamers on two-plot contracts alongside with Kostas Antetokounmpo, the sizzling back-to-back NBA Most Really helpful Player's youthful brother.

The Lakers also perceived to be constructing a relationship with one other agency in Octagon, the keep Giannis Antetokounmpo is partnered with Alex Saratsis and Jeff Austin. Is it a accident that Schroder, Matthews and the youthful Antetokounmpo are all with Octagon?

Wasn't it that first 12 months with Caldwell-Pope, a 12 months earlier than James' arrival in Los Angeles, that the Lakers began to kind a relationship with Paul and Klutch? It doesn't deem much to salvage the Lakers were attempting to prepare the identical path.

Nonetheless now with James on the books, and assuming the Lakers are in a station to change Caldwell-Pope, Gasol and their 2021 first-spherical get after the draft without taking any salary back, Davis would need to deem a slash ticket of about $10 million to present the crew passable cap room.

Beyond asking too much of Davis, it can doubtless mean the Lakers piece ways with Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Harrell, Caldwell-Pope, Schroder and upright about all americans else on the roster. Obviously, if the Bucks were willing to change Antetokounmpo for Kuzma, Caruso, Harrell, Caldwell-Pope, Schroder and upright about all americans else on the roster, they would possibly perhaps perhaps have a deal.

If L.A. has any faint hope, or no longer it is that Antetokounmpo calls for a the Lakers. Given the Lakers’ dearth of tradeable future first-spherical picks (most tied up with the Fresh Orleans Pelicans in the deal that brought in Davis), the Bucks would obviously enact every little thing they'll to acquire their superstar to re-signal. Nonetheless failing that, the Lakers can also fair no longer be atop their precedence checklist in the event that they did judge to transfer Antetokounmpo.

What does it jabber in regards to the Lakers-Klutch relationship?


Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Or no longer it is miles a partnership. The Lakers are caring for James. James is caring for the Lakers. Or no longer it is miles a mutually priceless symbiosis.

The addition of Harrell, one in all the end bench gamers in the league the previous couple of years, is a prime example.

And if the Lakers will doubtless be in a position to draft Bronny James when the time comes, they'll also fair transfer mountains to enact so that you just can extend their bustle with James as long as they presumably can.

What else does this indicate in regards to the Lakers' future?

Sufficient with the third superstar already. The Lakers upright acquired the title and upgraded the roster. Now they'll play out the 2020-21 season to salvage in the event that they've basically the most attention-grabbing match spherical Davis and James.

If Schroder is the secondary playmaker/scorer to enhance James, then they'll reinvest in him after this season. Kuzma is extension-eligible, and if he continues to develop, they ought to aloof give him a contract.

Harrell would possibly perhaps perhaps be attempting to salvage a bigger payday (he has a player option after the season), nonetheless he too would possibly perhaps perhaps be a protracted-term half for the Lakers.

Preserve away the tension to kind a superteam, and the Lakers can also fair for mosey have one thing special already. James and Davis together in and of itself is greater than what in the case of any crew has to provide.

At some level, James will originate to leisurely down as he ages. Nonetheless if final season is any indicator, he and the Lakers will stay a power for some time.

E-mail Eric Pincus at and prepare him on Twitter, @EricPincus.

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