Kyrie Irving is recruiting James to the Mavericks to form a Big 3 with Luka Doncic. Dallas head coach Jason Kidd and assistant coach Jared Dudley were with LeBron in 2020 when the Lakers won the championship at the Walt Disney World Bubble.
“What can be bankably confirmed about any LeBron connection to the Mavericks: Dallas is certainly a team, league sources say, that would intrigue the 38-year-old as a potential landing spot if James ever reached the point of searching for a new place to play,” Stein wrote.
James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers last summer. He has a player option for the 2024-25 season. The odds of LeBron landing with the Mavericks are very low since he and Doncic are already making max money and Irving is expected to sign a new max contract with Dallas this summer in unrestricted free agency.
The new CBA resembles a hard cap, making it very challenging to have three max players on a roster.
The Mavericks Have Nothing to Offer for LeBron James
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers aren’t interested in what the Mavericks could offer them for James. LeBron could technically ask for a buyout from Los Angeles and sign a cheap deal with Dallas.
However, Buha doesn’t see that happening.
“The other avenue to get James to Dallas would be through a buyout, but multiple hurdles make that unrealistic as well,” Buha wrote. “James agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers in 2022 that will not kick in until this summer. Any player who is bought out could technically be picked up on waivers, but that team would have to be able to fit the player’s entire salary (in this case, James’ $46.9 million) on its cap sheet, not the amount he agrees to in a buyout. It would also require James to take a steep discount — the Lakers would have little to no incentive to have dead money on their cap sheet — and then sign in Dallas for far less than he would’ve been making.
“James has made nearly $400 million in basketball salary through his NBA career. He’s made hundreds of millions through endorsements, partnerships, his production company and various business endeavors. But asking him to give up tens of millions of dollars still seems impractical.”
If James doesn’t retire from the NBA this summer, he will likely be back with the Lakers next season. His first son, Bronny, is playing college basketball at USC and his wife and two other kids love living in Los Angeles, sources told Heavy Sports.
The Lakers Don’t Want Kyrie Irving; Uncle Drew Wants to Stay with the Mavericks
Buha is reporting that the Lakers remain uninterested in adding Irving despite James making it known publicly and privately that he wants to reunite with Uncle Drew in Los Angeles.
LeBron and Irving were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17. They led the Cavs to the 2016 championship.
Meanwhile, Stein is reporting that Irving wants to re-sign with the Mavericks, who can offer the All-NBA guard the most money in free agency.