Landing LeBron and George — or LeBron and DeMarcus Cousins, or LeBron and a couple of role players, whatever — would immediately become one of the biggest moments in Lakers history.
The Lakers would renounce the rights to all their free agents and wind up with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and whoever they take with the pick from the Cavs on rookie contracts, James at his max and George slightly below his max.
(He is eligible to sign a deal with a starting salary of $30.3 million.) I put George on a two-year deal because it allows him to opt out and sign a new deal when he has 10 years of NBA experience — the veteran max lets a player sign for 35 percent of the salary cap.
Los Angeles will have the $4.4 million room midlevel exception to sign someone, and the rest of the roster would be filled out with minimum-salary guys unless Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka find a way to unload Luol Deng’s massive contract, which expires in 2020.
By the way, in today’s NBA, I don’t see why this version of the Lakers couldn’t get away with playing their best five players together for stretches: Ball, Ingram, George, James and Kuzma.
With $4.1 million in cap space and the $4.4 million room exception, Los Angeles would be able to add two more role players before resorting to minimum deals.