For years, having LeBron James on your team almost guaranteed that multiple veterans and rising stars would want to team up with him. But there's only so much the Los Angeles Lakers can do with so little cap space.
I'm pretty sure James could just pick up the phone and get five or six players to sign with them in less than an hour. But that's not how the salary cap works, and that's why the Lakers have struggled to make some impactful moves as of late.
That's why ESPN's Tim Bontemps believes that, as much as the Lakers want to lock up LeBron for the future right now, signing him to a contract extension could actually hurt their chances of improving the roster.
NBA News: LeBron James' Extension Could Hurt The Lakers In The Future
"If you look at the situation the Lakers are in, we have already talked about the nausea of how they don't have enough salary cap space to fill out their roster around Anthony Davis," Bontemps started. "The one way they can do that is for LeBron James to wait until next summer and, like James Harden this summer with Philly, take a little less money and fill in around him and Anthony Davis next summer."
"If he signs a max extension this summer, the Lakers are stuck in the exact same situation they are now and are going to be stuck going forward because they have no other contracts to trade," Bontemps added. "They have no other way to get players on their roster."
James is one of the wealthiest athletes of all time, so I'm pretty sure he'd give up money to win that fifth NBA championship. But, of course, the Lakers don't want to deal with the uncertainty of potentially losing him in the summer.
At the end of the day, both parties will have to have a long, uncomfortable conversation about what's best for everybody. James has historically left his teams on short notice, so we get why the Lakers want him signed now. But that may not be the wisest choice this time.