The Philadelphia 76ers are looking into a potential buyout for the final year of Jerryd Bayless' contract with the team, Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reported Sunday.
Bayless will make a little over $8.5 million in 2018-19. According to Schultz, the Sixers may also use the stretch provision for Bayless, which would spread his guaranteed salary over a period of years, thus alleviating some of the salary-cap burden for next year.
By shedding Bayless' contract—or decreasing his cap hit next year—the Sixers would free up even more money to pursue LeBron James.
Philadelphia would have $31.3 million available by renouncing the cap holds for JJ Redick ($27.6 million) and Amir Johnson ($13.2 million), according to Spotrac. USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt noted James can command a max salary of $35.6 million next year.
While James hasn't made his decision, the Sixers are at least in the mix. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the four-time MVP's representatives planned to meet with team officials Sunday.
Philadelphia will want to have its ducks in a row before finalizing any agreement with James, so the team will likely prefer to resolve Bayless' future sooner rather than later.
Creating cap space would not only help the Sixers sign James but also potentially make things a little easier in a Kawhi Leonard trade. The New York Times' Marc Stein reported Philadelphia is hopeful it can acquire Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs to possibly pair up with LeBron.
Leonard will earn a little over $20 million in 2018-19, which will have to be a consideration for the Sixers during negotiations, especially if James commits to signing with them.