‘No Conceivable Way’ Mavericks Retain $215 Million Star With LeBron James Trade

There's "no conceivable way" the Mavericks would retain Luka Doncic if the team traded for LeBron James

Getty There's "no conceivable way" the Mavericks would retain Luka Doncic if the team traded for LeBron James according to The Smoking Cuban's Blake Gibbs

Landing LeBron James would mean the Dallas Mavericks losing Luka Doncic in the long term according to The Smoking Cuban’s Blake Gibbs — who believes that if the Mavs landed “The King,” the franchise would be destroyed.

“There is almost no conceivable way the Mavs would be able to hang onto Luka entering either his age 25 or 26 seasons with no talent on the roster and no possible way to acquire it,” Gibbs wrote. “There has already been considerable chatter about Doncic leaving with what the Mavs have now.”

James was linked to Dallas by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on June 5. Charania reported that Kyrie Irving reached out to James to gauge interest in a reunion between the two former NBA Champions in their time together with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Doncic is due over $178 million on the five-year, $207 million ($215 million with bonuses) extension he signed with the Mavericks on August 10, 2021. He has a player option he can forgo for the 2026-27 season.

Luka Doncic ‘Would Be Gone’ After LeBron James’ Last Year

If James stayed longer in Dallas than what would be expected to be a short-term arrangement of either one or two years — two if the Mavericks were able to land Bronny James as per what “The King” has publically expressed is his career bucket-list goal –, Gibbs feels Doncic would be a goner following the NBA’s all-time leading scorer’s final season.

“In that scenario, even if James stays for two years, Luka Doncic would likely be gone following LeBron’s final season in Dallas,” Gibbs wrote.

James has both years left on the two-year, $97 million extension he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on August 17, 2022. Should Dallas go for broke the next two years, it’d end up broke when the James-Doncic-Irving era ends in 2026.

Given the potential draft picks it’d take to land James, given he doesn’t explicitly state he’ll retire if he doesn’t end up in Dallas, the long-term recovery of the team would be a steep uphill climb.

LeBron James’ Son May Not Want to Play With Him

What may not complicate the Mavericks’ potential pursuit of James is the wishes of “The King” to play with his son. As LeBron told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on May 23, Bronny may not desire to team with his dad the same way the elder James does — but LeBron respects his son’s decision either way.

“I’ve done what I’ve had to do in this league, and my son is going to take his journey,” James said. “And whatever his journey, however his journey lays out, he’s going to do what’s best for him. And as his dad, and his mom, Savannah, and his brother and sister, we’re going to support him in whatever he decides to do. So, just because that’s my aspiration or my goal, doesn’t mean it’s his. And I’m absolutely OK with that.”

James had previously told McMenamin on January 7 that he wanted to be the NBA’s version of Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.

“Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him, but I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing,” James said. “That would be ideal for sure.”

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