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3 reasons LeBron James to the Mavs isn’t going to happen

Kyrie Irving may want LeBron James on the Mavs, but there’s a number of reasons that isn’t happening.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The offseason hasn’t even officially begun yet for the Lakers but odds are the wildest rumor of the summer has likely already come out. Kyrie Irving’s reported request for the Mavericks to trade for LeBron James came out of nowhere on Monday and surprised basically everybody.

There has been plenty of discussion about LeBron and Kyrie teaming up this summer, but no one expected it to be like this. Kyrie was expected to come to Los Angeles if they were going to play together next season, not LeBron going to Dallas.


Well, for a whole host of reasons. But here are the three biggest ones as to why this won’t happen.

Have you seen Dallas’ trade assets?

This was discussed in greater length in another post, but Dallas just doesn’t have anything worth offering the Lakers in a trade. Their most appealing asset is the No. 10 overall pick, and that’s not moving any sort of needle in a LeBron trade.

The Mavericks had very few assets before they traded for Kyrie. After? There’s no shot they can acquire LeBron. They’re going to struggle to build out a roster as is.

Luka Doncic is the only Mavs player or draft pick, and he’s not being included in any deal by the Mavericks — which means there isn’t a deal to even be discussed.

Even assuming somehow a deal is done, there’s another problem that prevents this.

Salary caps exist

LeBron’s already one of the highest-paid players in the league. Adding him with Luka and Kyrie on a max this summer? Well, that’s barely financially possible.

Much like it was financially difficult/near impossible for the Lakers to acquire Kyrie, many of the same hurdles would exist for the Mavs. While the opportunity for Kyrie and LeBron to team up hasn’t existed like this before, it doesn’t mean it’s a given to happen or that it’s easy to accomplish.

There is really only one way for LeBron and Kyrie to team up next year and...

LeBron ain’t taking a pay cut nor negotiating a buyout

...LeBron isn’t going to take that route. If he’s joining the Mavericks, it’s because he either accepted some form of a buyout and/or took a pay cut. Neither of those are things he or the Lakers are going to do.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic laid out the details as to why it’ll be difficult.

James agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers in 2022 that will not kick in until this summer. Any player who is bought out could technically be picked up on waivers, but that team would have to be able to fit the player’s entire salary (in this case, James’ $46.9 million) on its cap sheet, not the amount he agrees to in a buyout. It would also require James to take a steep discount — the Lakers would have little to no incentive to have dead money on their cap sheet — and then sign in Dallas for far less than he would’ve been making. James has a player option of $50.7 million for the 2024-25 season, which he would forfeit. In this scenario, Irving would also have to take a significant discount.

File that under things that won’t be happening.

LeBron isn’t going to be a Mav next season. All reports to come out after the initial one from Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report have indicated no one thinks he’s leaving.

It’s not a leverage play. It’s not a threat to the Lakers. It’s just a silly non-story.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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