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And-Ones: Top Free Agents, Cousins, Ayayi, Barkley

Lakers star LeBron James is the top name on a list of potential free agents compiled by Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. Even though he’s approaching 40 years old, James has the potential to shake up the league if he declines his $51.4 million player option and decides to test the market this summer.

Pincus admits James is likely to stay in LA regardless of what he does with the option. He can either opt in and extend his contract for two more seasons or opt out and negotiate a new offer starting at $49.4 million. However, Pincus expects James’ next contract to run through the 2026/27 season.

Sixers guardian Tyrese Maxey he’s second on Pincus’ list, but he’s almost certain to land a max extension with Philadelphia, which can pay him far more than any rival team. Pacers redirect Pascal Siakam, Clippers redirect Paul George and Clippers guardian James Harden complete the first five.

There are more news from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA center DeMarcus Veri earned Finals MVP honors while leading the Taiwan Beer Leopards to the Taiwan T1 league title, according to ClutchPoints ( Twitter link ). The six-time All-Star, who has not played in the NBA since the 2021/22 season, joined the Taiwanese team in mid-April.
  • Shooting guard Joel Ayayi, who played in seven games with Washington in the 2021/22 season, signed with JL Bourg in France. The French native played collegiately at Gonzaga, then spent two years in the G League before joining Nanterre 92 this season.
  • As Charles Barkley laments the potential loss of Inside the NBA, he’s also publicly negotiating his next contract, according to The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis. Curtis notes that the show’s demise will make Barkley the most sought-after free agent in TV sports history. He adds that Barkley does a masterful job of promoting himself, being highly quotable and appearing on a large number of shows to increase his visibility. Curtis says Barkley’s approach to business can be summed up by something he said on a podcast when he was negotiating with LIV Golf two years ago: “I love my work at TNT. i love people But you have to take all the appointments.”