“Unrealistic” For LeBron James To Get Traded To Mavs

It’s “unrealistic” that the Lakers would consider trading LeBron James to the Mavericks so that he could join forces with Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, a source told Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Irving, who is headed to free agency, reached out to his former Cavaliers teammate about the possibility of playing in Dallas. James has previously expressed his desire to play with Irving in Los Angeles and was believed to be disappointed when the Lakers didn’t acquire him at February’s trade deadline.

However, as Buha details, the Lakers aren’t interested in what the Mavericks might offer from their roster for their aging superstar, who hinted at retirement after the team was eliminated by Denver in the Western Conference Finals. Dallas doesn’t have the young talent outside of Doncic to entice the Lakers if James were to ask for a trade. Even multiple draft picks to sweeten the pot (Dallas owns the No. 10 pick) probably wouldn’t get the job done.

James isn’t using Irving’s interest in playing with him as leverage to try to force the Lakers front office to pursue a sign-and-trade for the free agent guard, according to Buha.

Irving’s recruitment of James suggests that he prefers to sign the Mavericks’ max offer (or something close to it) rather than taking less money from the Lakers, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes.

The Lakers could open up as much as $30-35MM in cap space to sign Irving but he apparently doesn’t want to take a discount. A sign-and-trade scenario would be much more appealing to Irving because he could get a higher salary.

Los Angeles, from all indications, is more focused on retaining some of its top free agents (Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves). Lakers sources reiterated to Buha on Monday they’re not looking to add Irving.

Outside of a trade, the only way James could join the Mavs would be via a buyout of his contract and that seems like an extreme long shot. James has one year remaining on his contract at $46.9MM and then a player option for the 2024/25 season worth $50.65MM.

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