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The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James under contract for three more seasons.
However, the team’s long-range goal is landing another of the NBA’s brightest stars.
The Milwaukee Bucks superstar, who has his team primed for an appearance in the NBA Finals, will be a free agent in 2021 and the hiring of Jason Kidd as an assistant coach on Frank Vogel’s staff was done, in part, with Antetokounmpo in mind, according to Steve Popper of Newsday.
A source told Popper at the league’s draft combine this week in Chicago that the Lakers are hopeful of making a sales pitch for Antetokounmpo, one of three finalists for the NBA Most Valuable Player award this season, two summers from now.
Kidd coached Antetokounmpo for three and a half seasons in Milwaukee before he was fired midway through the 2017-18 season.
By the time Antetokounmpo hits free agency, the only contract Los Angeles will have on its books in the $5 million it will owe in the final year of the stretched contract of Luol Deng.
The aforementioned James will have a $41 million player option that season, with the Lakers young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart eligible for extensions after their rookie contracts.
Antetokounmpo is a sage bet to be eligible for a supermax contract, a deal that would pay him 35 percent of the Bucks’ salary cap, by then, an offer only Milwaukee could present.
Should Antetokounmpo win the MVP award this season, or be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year or earning All-NBA honors in two of the next three seasons would automatically qualify Antetokounmpo for a super-max deal.