One of the biggest moments in free agency was when it was revealed that LeBron James was demanding a max contract from the Miami Heat.
Throughout his NBA career, James has never made finances his number one priority. On the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was never the highest paid player. By joining he Miami Heat, he sacrificed money to surround himself with a formidable cast. The result? Four NBA Finals appearances and two championships. Now, James is on the open market and he’s hoping to pull in all of the money available to him and if Micky Arison and Pat Riley aren’t the ones to give it to him, someone else will. And according to reports, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of those teams.
ESPN reported Thursday that the Lakers made it clear to Anthony, who is living and training in L.A. this summer, they’d offer the maximum four-year, $97 million contract they can, if he were to choose them. That’s less than the five-year, $129 million offer the Knicks have verbally pitched to Anthony. The Lakers also made it clear to James they’d offer him the maximum they could, sources said.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, it may be impossible to offer James the max contract that he desires thanks to the extension Kobe Bryant signed earlier this season, reminding several why they were against the deal. Kobe deserves to be paid for his efforts as a Los Angeles Laker. He’s been apart of five championship teams and has been the face of the organization since 2003. And in the second biggest market in Los Angeles, the organization can afford to pay him.
But that’s never been the issue. Had Bryant waited until the end of the season, the Lakers free agent landscape may have looked a bit better. They’d be able to fit two max contracts onto their roster as well as appease Bryant’s contract demands. Those two free agents? Possibly a mixture of LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe, Kyle Lowry, Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh. Now, they’ve only space for one, a slight hinderance as they look to reload for the post-Kobe Bryant years.
There’s been no movement on the Miami Heat front in regards to a Big 3 reuniting. According to multiple reports, there’s a bit of disconnect between Bosh, James, and Wade, and if things aren’t resolved, James’ biggest payday of his career could come with him taking his talents to Laker land.