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The James Harden path Lakers star LeBron James must take in order to win championship No. 5

James Harden,LeBron James

There has been a lot of talk surrounding LeBron James and his pending contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. ESPN’s NBA guru Tim Bontemps has chimed in on this issue, and he believes LeBron should do a James Harden next summer.

No, it’s not about LeBron forcing his way out of the Lakers. What Bontemps is referring to here is how Harden opted out of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers this coming season in order to take less money. In his mind, the ESPN insider believes that this is the most logical path for LeBron and the Lakers (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter):

“They don’t have enough salary cap space to go out and fill in the roster around [LeBron] and Anthony Davis, and the one way they have to do that is for LeBron to wait until next summer, opt out of his contract, and like James Harden this summer with Philly, take a little bit less money, and allow them to fill in around him and Anthony Davis on this roster,” Bontemps said. “If he signs a max extension this summer, the Lakers are stuck in the exact same situation they are in now and they’re going to be in that situation going forward.”

That’s a pretty hot take, but Bontemps does make a lot of sense here. LeBron will need to give up some money next summer if he wants the Lakers to build a more formidable roster around him and Anthony Davis. Otherwise, they’re going to be in the same situation they are in right now.

You have to note, however, that this is a huge risk for the Lakers. If LeBron James doesn’t sign an extension this summer, he’s going to be a free agent this time next year. This would allow him to walk away and leave the Lakers for nothing if he so chooses. It also wouldn’t be the first time.