But dreaming and doing are two different things entirely.
Let’s start with Irving, who will enter free agency at the end of the month. In order to play anywhere with James, Irving would have to take a pretty big pay cut.
As for James, let’s defer to Marc Stein of The Stein Line.
“Dallas also lacks the salary cap flexibility or trade assets to have a meaningful conversation about making a trade run at James, who is owed $46.9 million from the Lakers next season and holds a $50.6 million player option for 2024-25,” Stein wrote. “How likely is it, would you surmise, that James pushes for a contract buyout from the Lakers to become a free agent instead and make it easier for Dallas to pursue him — for far less money — just as his eldest son Bronny is about to start playing for USC?”
In other words, there would be zero reason for James to want to leave LA — other than, of course, to play again with Irving, and for the first time with Doncic.
Would that alone be enough for the Mavs to orchestrate a trade, the Lakers to agree to one, and Irving to take less money?
It doesn’t seem realistic.
Then again, this is the NBA, right? And we all know that when it comes to the NBA, especially when it involves James, anything is possible.
For the record, James has one year remaining on his deal at $47 million and then a player option for 2024-25 worth about $51 million.