This is why every signee after James last summer only got a one-year deal.
With the roster as it currently stands, the Lakers will have just $62.2 million in committed salary for next season, leaving about $46.8 million in cap space. That is more than enough to sign a max free agent. While James is normally on his social media hiatus this time of year, he’s currently free to recruit DM as many upcoming free agents as he pleases.
So, who to target?
It’d be surprising to see either Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard join the Lakers, although general manager Rob Pelinka should definitely still make some calls. From there, four names stand out, in this order: Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.
Irving is the most attractive option. He’s the youngest of the bunch at 27 and the only one James has already won a title with. The divorce between Irving and James is well-documented and led to the breakup of the Big Three in Cleveland, but all wounds eventually heal. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated on The Hoop Collective podcast, don’t rule out Irving’s arrival just yet:
“I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting—that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open … It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it’s on Kyrie’s radar; it’s on Kyrie’s board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers.”
This would have the potential to be better than the 2014 to 2018 Cavaliers, with Irving now in his prime and Davis substituted for Kevin Love.
If Irving is still unsure about reuniting with James, Walker would be a nice consolation.
REF: GREG SWARTZ. bleacherreport.com