The Los Angeles Lakers are cooking something up — or at least they’re trying to. After the Atlanta Hawks agreed to a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 4 pick, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is working to try and get Atlanta involved in the Anthony Davis trade in an effort to open up max cap space, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (via SportsCenter):
“They’re gonna try to engage Atlanta to try and get them involved and make it a three-team deal. They’ve got to dump some salary here, Isaac Bonga, Moe Wagner [and] Jemerrio Jones’ non-guaranteed contract to try to open up the space for a max-level free agent they can go after.”
Of course, the Pelicans would have to agree to a deal with those parameters in order for this to mean anything, but there’s reason to believe they’d see a three-team deal with the Hawks and Lakers as mutually beneficial. Here’s cap expert Albert Nahmad to break it down:
If the Pelicans choose to fold their Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers and their trade of Solomon Hill with the Hawks into one, they can create a $27.1M trade exception, which they could bypass in favor of $30M+ cap room.— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) June 20, 2019
Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and cap space isn’t a bad position to be in going into the summer — no one knows that more than Lakers fans. However, the Pelicans also have Zion Williamson, who could be draw for some All-Star caliber free agents.
If the Pelicans and Lakers can both get All-Star free agents while keeping the framework of their respective trades intact, why wouldn’t they do it? Well, the Pelicans have every incentive to do everything they can to make sure the Lakers are bad, or at least as bad as a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on their roster can be. But would the Pelicans really not want max cap space just to make sure the Lakers couldn’t have it? That seems unlikely.
At the very least, we now know that the Lakers were aware of the cap situation going in, and there is reason to believe that there is a chance the Pelicans and Hawks will work with them:
Rob Pelinka and David Griffin, upon completion of Anthony Davis deal, had agreed that if a third team was looped into trade, teams would finalize on July 6. No third team wanted to wait until late July. Once Atlanta was brought in today, Pelinka was already on board.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
Expect an update on the Lakers’ efforts to get the Hawks involved in the near future, for better or for worse.