LeBron James looks puzzled during a Lakers game.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Lakers Concede Adding Third Star May Not Be Realistic

The Los Angeles Lakers are focused on making moves "around the edges" of the roster following the agreement with LeBron James on a new contract, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

That could include some signings of free agents to veteran's minimum deals.

Per Woj, the Lakers don't seem to believe that the three-star model can still get it done in the era of the current collective-bargaining agreement.

James agreed to a reported two-year deal worth $104 million. It includes a player option and a no-trade clause, per reports.

It also "put the Lakers about $1 million over the league's new punitive salary second apron and would severely limit the team's roster flexibility," Wojnarowski reported.

Because of that, James agent, Rich Paul, intends to meet with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka about "the possibility of taking $1 million or so below the maximum to keep Los Angeles under the $188.9 million second apron," Woj added, citing sources.

Otherwise, we could see the Lakers running it mostly back with only new coach JJ Redick and rookies Dalton Knecht and Bronny James as the main additions.

That said, the Lakers reportedly have an interest in trading for Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant and several others, so the offseason is far from history, especially if James' new deal can be tweaked.

James is just one of two players in the entire NBA with a no-trade clause, joining guard Bradley Beal of the Phoenix Suns.

James will turn 40 years old in December. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer and last season became the first player to make 20 All-Star teams.

He remained among the top two or three free agents on the market, despite his age, and continues to give LA its best chance at winning. That may say more about the rest of the roster than James himself, but it does show that he is still a top-level player (or at least was last season) as he continues to fight off age.

James averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks for the Lakers in 2023-24 in 71 games while shooting 54.0% from the floor, 41.0% on 3-pointers and 75.0% from the free-throw line.

(This post originally appeared on Hoops Wire and was republished with permission.)