After trading for Anthony Davis earlier this month, the Los Angeles Lakers will have the chance to make a splashy move in free agency. However, the size of the splash they make will depend on how much cap space they have after the Davis trade is finalized.
As it stands, the Lakers are projected to have roughly $23.7 million in cap space, which would be short of D’Angelo Russell’s max, which starts at $27 million, and well short of Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler’s max, which starts at $32.5 million in cap space.
The Lakers could open up more cap space through Davis waiving his trade kicker, or by offloading the contracts of Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to a third team — or both — but so far they’ve had no luck finding any takers for the latter players, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
The Lakers have shopped the spare parts they have remaining, per league sources, but with a limited ability to sweeten a deal with draft picks, talks have gone nowhere. That leaves the Lakers well short of a max salary slot (goodbye, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving) and in a tough position to nab multiple high–level players, especially in a market where Terrence Ross could command $15 million or more per year.
If the Lakers don’t find a team to take Wagner, Bonga and Jones, their spending power will stay at $23.7 million. That number could shrink to roughly $20 million if they keep Reggie Bullock’s $4.75 million cap hold. Granted, that’s not a small amount of cap space, but they could have used that extra $10 million to fill out their roster, which currently only has six players.
While things could change between now and when the trade is expected to be finalized on July 6, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. are racing against the clock. They’re reportedly “confident” they can make something happen. Only time will tell if they’re right.