Lakers Rumors: LeBron James To Sign Two-Year Contract With Player Option & No-Trade Clause
LeBron James, Lakers
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were put on the clock in free agency when superstar LeBron James said he would be willing to take a pay cut to give L.A. a better chance at landing a difference-maker via trade or with their non-taxpayer mid-level exception. But the hope was the Lakers would be able to make something happen before Team USA Olympic practices began on July 6 in Las Vegas.

The Lakers first target was Klay Thompson, as he fit all the categories of the type of player they were looking for and he was within reach financially. But Thompson chose the Dallas Mavericks, and other possible targets Jonas Valanciunas and James Harden found homes elsewhere.

Now, that July 6 date is approaching and the Lakers were unable to find anyone worthy of their mid-level, so James is signing a two-year max contract that includes a player option and no-trade clause, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

James may taken slightly less than his full max to keep the Lakers from dipping into the second apron:

James was reportedly willing to take a relatively significant pay cut in order to help the Lakers out, but it doesn’t seem that the targets he would do that for are available other than DeMar DeRozan. With James signing this deal though, the pathway to get DeRozan to L.A. is essentially impossible.

Rich Paul said all along that James would take his max if they couldn’t find anyone, and that is what is happening here.

James will now have the ability to re-enter free agency next summer if he chooses, which will be interesting to see considering the Lakers haven’t made any moves to improve this offseason as he wanted.

Lakers in active talks with three teams

If L.A. is going to improve the roster now, it will have to come via trade. And the Lakers are reportedly in active trade talks with the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets. Within those three teams are several targets that James could consider worthy of taking a pay cut, including Jerami Grant, Lauri Markkanen, Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith.

At this point, a trade does not appear imminent, as these are just trade talks for now. But if the Lakers are going to make something big happen, there isn’t really a rush now that James has signed his new contract.

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