If the Los Angeles Lakers do trade for Kawhi Leonard, it is now very unlikely Moe Wagner will be in the deal after the team announced they had officially signed him on Sunday.
By officially signing Wagner, the Lakers now cannot trade him for 30 days, per the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, meaning if the team was to do a deal for Leonard soon Wagner wouldn’t be included.
So why would the front office do this now? Well, there are a few reasons this makes sense for the Lakers.
For one, as a late-first round pick, Wagner was unlikely to be so valued by the San Antonio Spurs that his removal from the Lakers’ pool of assets would be a dealbreaker in a transaction for a player as valuable as Leonard. The Lakers also likely wouldn’t have had a beaming press conference for a player they were planning to trade within a few weeks.
Plus, as a first-round rookie, Wagner’s cap hold is automatically 120 percent of the rookie salary scale for his draft slot, so there is no cap benefit for the Lakers in leaving him unsigned because he would be taking up just as much or more cap space than he will if he signed his deal.
Officially signing also allows Wagner to avoid having to take out an insurance policy or skip the Lakers’ two summer leagues, so basically there were so many reasons to get this done it wouldn’t have made sense to hold off.
With this out of the way, the Lakers can now turn their attention all the way back to free agency, where they are still in the hunt for LeBron James and other free agents to fill our their roster as the summer continues onward.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.