LeBron James has decided to take close to $3 million less in his contract to help the Los Angeles Lakers avoid the salary cap’s second apron, a move that will allow the team more flexibility in improving its roster.

“Like when you’re in a relationship — like I’ve been married for a while now. I’ve been with my wife since high school — there’s certain things that sometimes you have to do,” James said on Sunday. “…You have to understand in a relationship, in order for a relationship to work … both sides have to work.”

James’ decision to accept a lower salary is aimed at keeping the Lakers under the second apron, a new cap mechanism that restricts teams from certain roster maneuvers if they exceed it. This concession allows the Lakers more leeway in trading multiple players for one, although they still cannot take back more money than they send out in any deal.

“Me being able to be in a situation where I can protect the franchise under the second apron, understanding this new thing is very hard on a lot of teams as far as them trying to get better and whatever the case may be. I’m, I’ve been in a relationship with the Lakers going on seven years. I’m absolutely OK with [taking a pay cut],” James added.

This financial flexibility is crucial for the Lakers as they look to strengthen their roster in a competitive NBA landscape. James, who has been with the Lakers since 2018, sees this as a necessary step in maintaining a successful partnership with the franchise.

In addition to his commitment to the Lakers, James reflected on his experience with Team USA during the second day of training camp.

“For us to be on the same team, it’s like surreal,” James said. “Like anytime I see a clip, like if I go on social media and I see a clip of us walking into the building … I was like, man, that’s just crazy.” The “us” he refers to includes Olympic veterans such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis, alongside younger stars like Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards, and Tyrese Haliburton.

James emphasized the importance of setting a standard of excellence for the younger players. “We don’t step on their toes and nothing of that nature, but we just hope that we continue to set a standard for them of what excellence is all about because they’re already excellent,” James said. “And see if they can just carry it on and be great as long as they want to be too.”

LeBron’s dedication both to the Lakers and Team USA showcases his leadership and commitment to fostering success and excellence in every aspect of his basketball career.



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