Everyone knows that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to have gobs of cap space this summer, which is good news for a team sorely lacking in talent outside of a couple of promising young players. Now that the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery set team's draft orders, we have a better idea of exactly how much the Lakers will have to spend (Hint: it's a lot).
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders calculated his latest projections for each team, and the Lakers are slated to have up to $64.1 million in salary cap space this summer following the outcome of the draft lottery. That is the highest possible figure in the league, nearly enough to offer three max contracts (before, as Pincus notes, accounting for the salary of restricted free agent Jordan Clarkson, whom the Lakers have indicated they want to retain).
Even with Clarkson's next contract, the Lakers will still have enough to offer more than two max contracts, but a bigger question still remains: who is going to take their money?
While top free agents like Kevin Durant and Al Horford seem unattainable for Los Angeles, there were rumors earlier in the year that the Lakers had "everything" Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside wants in a free agency suitor. As Pincus notes in his salary cap breakdown, Miami only has early bird rights on Whiteside, meaning they cannot go over the cap to re-sign him. Such a complication could make it easier for another team (like the Lakers) to swoop in and sign the All-Defensive First Team member.
The Lakers have also been said to be interested in a few free agents their incoming coach is familiar with, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.
It won't be clear until closer to free agency who the Lakers have a realistic shot at, but with a ton of money burning a hole in their pockets, they will be active in the early days of July. With a bunch of young talent and the ability to offer a max player the chance to bring at least one other talented friend, their pitch could be more appealing than many expect.
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