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June 1, 2023 | 11:14 am EDT Update
LeBron James retirement talk due to fatigue, sweep frustration and reminder to Lakers' front office that title window is closing?
I haven’t spoken to anyone who thinks LeBron James is retiring. The biggest reasons given to me for his comments after Game 4: fatigue from the season, frustration with getting swept and a reminder to the front office that the Lakers’ title window is closing, keeping a sense of urgency in the foreground.
Austin Reaves to get bigger offers than four-year, $52 million from Lakers?
The Lakers’ open stance about matching offers for the two could end up saving the team money, particularly with Reaves. After a terrific postseason debut, teams with cap space don’t have much optimism they’ll be able to pry him free, which means the Lakers’ four-year, $52 million-ish max offer might be the most he gets. People around the league, though, seem to think Reaves is worth more, but the rules prohibit the Lakers from giving it to him unless they’re matching another team’s offer.
Still a chance D'Angelo Russell re-signs with Lakers on team-friendly deal?
D’Angelo Russell’s future with the Lakers is fair less certain. Sign-and-trade possibilities exist — the Lakers have endlessly been tied with Kyrie Irving, and Fred VanVleet’s name has been mentioned since even before he joined Klutch Sports, though the Lakers could again be in a position where they’d be forced to part with one or more draft picks in a deal. Russell’s postseason struggles were probably a little overblown after a disastrous Western Conference finals, but expect the Lakers to look at upgrade options. There’s still a chance Russell returns on a good deal and the Lakers actually get the continuity they’ve spoken about building.
Malik Beasley has value, either as a floor spacer or as a tradeable expiring contract. Those elements certainly factoring into the Lakers’ decision with his $16.5-million team option. There are strong arguments for picking up that option.
There’s less optimism on Mo Bamba’s deal, which guarantees for $10.3 million on June 29 according to contract savants Spotrac. That’s a week after the NBA draft. It’s also the same day by which the Lakers have to make their decision on Beasley.
Last year’s second-round pick, Max Christie, has people around the Lakers very excited with his potential as he heads into a big summer.
Darvin Ham left plenty of people in and around the Lakers impressed with his run during the postseason. “We’ve got a good one,” one Lakers player said after Game 4.