During an appearance on “The Really Good Podcast with Bobbi Althoff” on August 3, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that, while he is not on the team right now, Dallas is where Lakers star LeBron James wants to be.
Cuban offered up James’ name when asked to name some players by Althoff who responded by saying she liked James and asking if he was on the Mavericks.
“No, he’s not,” Cuban said. “He wants to be.”
Rumors that James could be heading to the Mavericks at some point really began in earnest when former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving said he would try recruiting James to come play in the Lone Star State. According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, Irving texted James about the idea.
And James’ response was not a clear and definite “no”, but instead the Lakers star left the door open for a possible reunion, this time in Texas.
James is starting a two-year, $99 million contract this coming season. But he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent after this coming season.
LeBron James’ Plans to Play With Son Have Changed
His rumored preferred landing spot — whether he chooses free agency after next season or waits until his contract expires — has been wherever his son, Bronny James, is drafted based on previous comments made by the Lakers star.
The elder James has backed off the push to play alongside his son, however, which does leave room for more possible destinations in theory. But he seems to be in a good place with the Lakers with owner Jeannie Buss confirming that they will retire his jersey when he does finally hang it up for good.
Heading into his aged-39 season, James also needs a team to be built a certain type of way, even more so than he did at his physical peak.
And, as Cuban alluded to, they have already built their roster around a different heliocentric player. Asked by Althoff if he was trying to get James to the Mavericks a la Irving’s wishes, Cuban delivered a quick “no”.
“We have this guy named Luka Doncic,” Cuban said.
Doncic and James ranked second and sixth, respectively, in usage rate among qualifiers last season, per Basketball Reference.
LeBron James’ Future With Lakers Remains Uncertain
As one anonymous Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney, the Lakers have made their intentions quite clear through their actions
“You sign AD to this deal, there is the Klutch connection there, and LeBron has a certain level of responsibility for what Davis does with the Lakers,” the exec told Heavy Sports. “The message to LeBron is that they want him there and AD signing that is a message, too. It paves the way for these two guys to stay together for the foreseeable future.”
Potential tampering violations aside, Cuban’s remarks bring a key issue into focus.
The Lakers locked up Anthony Davis through the 2027-28 season on a three-year, $186 million contract extension this offseason and have added several pieces to a roster coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance.
Only three other teams can say that, and just two of those teams can say they went further than that putting L.A. in a better spot than nearly 87% of the NBA.