This summer, the Los Angeles Lakers will shoot for the stars in free agency, whether it’s a lower tier star — like D’Angelo Russell — or a perennial All-Star like Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler or Kyrie Irving. However, there’s also a decent chance they don’t land a big name, All-Star free agent to pair with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma.
In the event that the latter happens, the Lakers will look to split to split their (as of now) $23.8 million in cap space between a handful of players, and according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, they have three areas they want to focus on in free agency (via the The Rich Eisen Show):
“Things go pretty quickly in free agency these days. They’ll know for sure if they’re going to have a shot at one of the big guys, and if they don’t, in short order they’ll look to split it up. The top three priorities, as explained to me, are big man, shooter and point guard.
“And a name to look at for point guard is Darren Collison. A couple names to look at for the shooter position are Danny Green, J.J. Redick and even Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who has been on a couple of one-year deals and is represented by Rich Paul, just like Anthony Davis and LeBron James. And at center, it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw Tyson Chandler and/or JaVale McGee come back, but I think the big fish they’d like to reel in would be DeAndre Jordan.”
As great as all of those names sound, we won’t know how many quality role players they can get in free agency until the terms of the Anthony Davis trade are finalized. While they might only have $23.8 million in cap space right now, that number could get as high as $33.8 million if Davis waives his trade bonus and the Lakers find a team for Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones. That extra $10 million could be the difference between them having three solid veterans as opposed to just two.
Unfortunately, fans likely won’t know exactly how much cap space the Lakers will have until June 30 the earliest. By then, it should be common knowledge whether or not they were successful in their pursuit of a max free agent and if they’re not, fans will now know where to expect them to go next.