LeBron was willing to take bigger discount for impact player

LeBron James less than the maximum in his final two-year contract with the Lakers to give the front office more financial flexibility. He cited his strong “working relationship” with the club in an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“We have a relationship and everyone knows relationships, [knows that] it’s all about dedication,” said James. “It’s also about doing things to help both parties. So, we’ve had a working relationship for seven years… so that’s what it’s about.”

According to McMenamin, James left nearly $3 million on the table to help L.A. avoid the second tax break. James, who opted out of his previous contract before free agency, signed his two-year deal over the weekend.

Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, James’ agent told McMenamin that James was willing to accept even less money to open up the $12.9 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception for the Lakers to use to try to sign an “impact player.” The players they hoped could be attainable at the mid-level or via sign-and-trade included Klay Thompson, James Harden, Jonas Valanciunas And DeMar DeRozanThe Lakers failed to score a single.

“It takes two to tango,” said James. “I think our front office, our coaching staff, they tried to do the job that they wanted to do or tried to bring guys in and it didn’t happen. And that’s okay. That’s part of the business. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. So we’re not sitting here and lying or crying. We’re moving on and Klay’s a great player. DeMar is obviously a great player. Valanciunas was one of those guys that ended up going to Washington, was someone that was in the conversation with us, but we’re moving on and seeing how we continue to get better.”

Unless they make a trade later, the Lakers will essentially run it back with pretty much the same roster. Still, James isn’t discouraged.

“We’ve done it before and we still have two guys who put in the work for me every day and (Anthony Davis“We strive for excellence and strive to win,” he said. “And we feel like in any situation, any year, we can put ourselves in a position to succeed. And we’re not that far off. We were a year removed from the Western Conference Finals. This year, obviously, it didn’t go as well as last year. It didn’t go as well as we’d like, but we’re not that far off.”

Of course, James has another reason to feel good about the front office. The Lakers drafted son Bronny James in the second round, sparking a wave of criticism that he didn’t deserve to be selected. However, LeBron says his son simply ignores the outside noise.

“I don’t know if people really understand Bronny,” he said. “He doesn’t care. I actually care a little bit. When I walked in [as a rookie]I wanted people to like me and some of the things people said about me really annoyed me in the beginning of my career. … He doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t care about anybody. He doesn’t even listen to that stuff. He’s the coolest. He’s the complete opposite of his dad.

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