Are you dreaming of the Los Angeles Lakers pursuing DeMarcus Cousins in 2018? How about ponying up for Paul George in 2019? Those players could very well be options for the Lakers, but according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA’s new collective bargaining may make star-poaching a bit more difficult.
“One of the things that we're talking about, without being too specific, is coming up with some additional opportunities for the incumbent team to retain the player,” Silver said during an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio. “Some advantages in terms of being able to negotiate earlier to extend the contract.
“The way our rules are structured you're current team can offer you a longer contract, they can offer you more money,” Silver continued. “I think if we 'early-up' some of these opportunities, a team will be in a better position to know one, can they keep that player, and if they can't there will be more of an opportunity to deal that player and get value for that player if it seems likely that player is going to leave."
This detail about the CBA could be seen one of two ways. On one hand, it could aid the Lakers and other asset rich teams if other organizations are able to figure out sooner that they aren’t going to be able to keep their stars and are more readily putting them on the trade market.
On the other hand, it would mean the Lakers would have to give up promising prospets or draft picks to add a player instead of just fitting them into cap space. It could also take players off the market earlier entirely by making an extension a real option for teams.
That last detail may not be entirely negative, however. The Lakers have established a promising young core of their own, and in several years when players like Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance, Jr. approach unrestricted free agency for the first time, the front office might be able to lock them into extensions before they even meet with other teams.
As with most CBA changes, these provisions will have far reaching effects that could help or hurt various NBA teams, but these types of things are worth being aware of as the Lakers continue to explore different paths forward while they rebuild.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen, or listen to baseless free agency speculation about Paul George on our latest episode below: