Lakers president Magic Johnson wasn't willing to give up long-term flexibility unless he's assured Los Angeles' cap space is spent on max-level players.
"If we feel there's somebody out there or a deal to be made to make our team better, then we'll do it as long as it's a great deal for us," Johnson said, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "If it's not, we have our team and we'll go to battle, go to war with this team. We feel really good about this team.
"Then we'll have enough room for next summer to give another player a max deal. (General manager) Rob (Pelinka) and I, we already put the strategy together. LeBron, of course, changed some of that but we're still going to stay disciplined and hope we'll be a team that can have a championship run for a long time."
After Paul George signed a multi-year deal to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers chose to play the short-term game, re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and adding veterans Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee on one-year deals.
Next summer, the only guaranteed contracts on the roster will be James and Luol Deng, while young stars Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart have team options. Other than that, Los Angeles will be free to add a max-level player and plug him in next to James.