With the Los Angeles Lakers signing LeBron James in free agency, they have strategically filled out the remainder of the roster for the 2018-19 NBA season with one-year deals. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have also signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee.
Despite signing James, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are still focused on a two-year window for the Lakers in free agency.
Although all of the attention is on Kawhi Leonard via potential trade with the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers are projected to have enough cap space for another max-contract player in 2019.
The class could feature the likes of Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson. With conflicting reports about Butler’s future with the Timberwolves, the four-time All-Star has reportedly rejected a contract extension, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP:
#Twolves All-Star Jimmy Butler has officially turned down the Wolves' 4-year, $110M range extension offer, per owner Glen Taylor. Full interview posting soon, which includes stuff on KAT extension talks, Thibs, filling out the roster, and #LosLynx.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) July 13, 2018
However, Butler waiting until he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent has major implications, according to Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
Jimmy Butler, meniscus injury notwithstanding, could earn up to a projected $32.7M starting salary next season. That’s up to 5/$190M if he were to re-sign with the Wolves, and 4/$141M if he were sign elsewhere.
— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) July 13, 2018
Despite reuniting with head coach Tom Thibodeau, Butler was reportedly ‘fed up’ with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins during the 2017-18 season. As a result, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the 28-year-old’s free agency.
As for the Lakers, James committing to a four-year contract gives the Lakers time to make the proper moves. Instead of gutting the roster for an All-Star player immediately, the Lakers could very well wait until next year’s free agency and add to the four-time league MVP and young core.
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