Skip Bayless isn't impressed with LeBron James not taking a pay cut to maximize his chances of winning another ring with the LA Lakers. The four-time NBA MVP is eligible to sign a two-year deal worth $97 million until June 30, 2023. The Lakers could generate cap space to sign a max player next offseason.
However, they could struggle to surround the team's stars with impact role players. The Lakers don't have a bevy of draft capital to trade for young players that can help them land veteran stars and hence free agency remains their best bet.
Bayless' suggestion for James is to take a pay cut to improve LA and his chances of winning another chip. Here's what the NBA analyst wrote on Twitter:
"Help me out: Why wouldn't LeBron take far less $$$ from the Lakers to maximize chances to win 1 more ring??? He's a BILLIONAIRE. In 2013 and '14, Tim Duncan took only 10 mil! Spurs should've won both years. Another reason why Duncan was more valuable than LeBron ever has been."
Bayless mentioned Tim Duncan. The Hall of Famer took a $10 million pay cut in the 2012 offseason by signing a three-year $30 million contract. That helped the San Antonio Spurs sign De Colo, while also maintaining free agents Boris Diaw, Danny Green and Patty Mills on their roster.
It was a successful move as it allowed the team to make the NBA Finals in 2013 and 2014. They played against James' Miami Heat on both occasions, winning once.
James Harden took a pay cut in the offseason. He opted out of his $47 million player option and will earn around $33 million in the first season of a two-year deal worth $68.6 million with the Sixers.
However, unlike the names mentioned, James' performances haven't drastically declined. He is coming off one of his best scoring seasons, when he averaged 30.3 points per contest.
Duncan's performances gradually declined, and the Spurs had impactful young players they needed on the roster to be competitive. Harden also struggled last campaign, especially in terms of scoring.
LeBron James has had productive discussions with LA Lakers over extension
LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, told ESPN that the LA Lakers and the player had a productive discussion regarding his extension.
Head coach Darvin Ham and GM Rob Pelinka were in the room with LeBron and Paul during their talks at the Lakers' training facility. The two parties are yet to reach an agreement. They are expected to continue discussions in the coming days.
ESPN also reported that LeBron James could seek an extension worth $47 million for the 2023-24 NBA season with a player option for the 2024-25 campaign.
King James is keen to play with his son Bronny before he calls time on his career. Bronny will be eligible to enter the draft in 2024. A player option for 2024-25 gives him the flexibility to join the team that drafts his son.