What LeBron James’ max extension with Los Angeles Lakers means for salary cap, future moves and Bronny James

lebron james
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James signed a two-year, $104 million max extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The deal includes a no-trade clause and a player option for his second year. There are so many different layers as to how this deal impacts the team now and in the future. With that in mind, let’s look at the financial implications of the massive deal on the franchise’s immediate future.

Also Read: Los Angeles Lakers handcuffs themselves after LeBron James signing

Salary Cap Implications

First and foremost, the salary cap implications are what’s most important as far as what the Los Angeles Lakers can do moving forward. Before free agency began, James reportedly had told Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka he was willing to take a pay cut of up to $20 million for the team to go out and sign a meaningful impact player in free agency.

LA currently has a salary cap of $188.9 million. The players he was willing to take a salary reduction for were center Jonas Valanciunas, forward DeMar DeRozan, point guard James Harden, and shooting guard Klay Thompson. It is worth noting that the Lakers also have three first-round picks available to trade.

lebron james
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the contract James signed, they are now salary cap-strapped, if you will, and have reached their salary limit. They technically are $1 million over their limit and are approaching the second apron. In layman’s terms, all that really means is that it will be harder to make moves for other free agents unless they take a veteran’s minimum deal.

A lot of the big free agents came off the board in a hurry, including Klay Thompson signing with the Dallas Mavericks. As far as the other free agents are concerned, Jonas Valanciunas signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Washington Wizards and DeMar DeRozan’s future is still to be determined. Rumors suggest the Los Angeles Clippers are in pursuit. Additionally, James Harden signed a two-year, $70 million contract to return to the Clippers.

Also Read: New report reveals unusual reason why Klay Thompson chose the Dallas Mavericks over the Los Angeles Lakers

Where Does LA Go From Here?

Los Angeles Lakers
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers roster is pretty much set now with LeBron signing his extension with all 15 players determined. As we alluded to earlier, they have reached their salary cap limit. They are unable to trade their first-round picks for any players until the trade deadline should certain players become available. It’s a lot like last year where they swung and missed on acquiring any talent upgrades and had to settle for what they had.

The Lakers and Lebron James have a new head coach in place with JJ Redick, who has no previous experience so that’s a major question mark. Redick did hire two assistants to his staff, both of whom are former head coaches.

Nate McMillan and Scott Brooks both have had outstanding coaching careers. But there’s no plan in place with what type of offensive and defensive systems they will have. And then there’s the major elephant in the room: How will the Lakers handle Bronny James?

Also Read: D’Angelo Russell on NBA trade block – 3 ideal destinations for former All-Star

How Does Bronny James Fit on the Lakers?

There is no doubt that Bronny James was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers because of his dad’s influence, and there is nothing to be apologetic about. This young man will get his chance to develop his game with the Lakers G League team for the majority of the season, according to ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

So it sounds like the “distraction” element might have been a concern amongst the media and perhaps the veteran players can be put to bed. The younger James said in his first press conference with the team last week that he wants to create his own path with his career and he never really envisioned playing with his dad.

It’s a fascinating dynamic and certainly is something to watch as the season progresses. If LeBron sticks around after this year and Bronny’s game is good enough to elevate him to the next level, we just might see those two play together one day. But now is not the right time.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: