Rob Pelinka did it. After weeks of speculation surrounding their financial flexibility, the Los Angeles Lakers have opened up the cap space necessary to sign a max-level free agent by sending Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Lakers are trading Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis deal with New Orleans, league sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me. Deal clears contracts and creates more cap space for free agency.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
Anthony Davis is waiving his $4M trade kicker, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
The Lakers will start free agency with $32M in salary cap space. The Lakers have the ability to sign a max player now.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2019
The Lakers will send a 2022 second-round pick to sweeten the deal, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Sources: Lakers are sending their 2022 second-round pick to Washington in trade to move Moe Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to the Wizards.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2019
So, to recap, the Lakers gave up Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Wagner, Bonga Jones, the No. 4 pick, two future first-round picks, two pick swaps and second-rounder for Anthony Davis and $32 million in cap space. Was it all worth it? We’ll find out within the next few weeks.
With $32 million in cap space, the Lakers have enough money to offer D’Angelo Russell is full max starting at $27.3 million annually. That’s not to say they will give Russell the full max, but now they can.
They will also have the opportunity to try and lure a 30 percent max free agent like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers. Granted, they’re a few thousand dollars short of offering them their $32.7 million max, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker for someone that really wants to team up with Davis and James in Los Angeles.
It may have come at a steep price, but the Lakers accomplished their goal of creating max cap space and general manager Rob Pelinka deserves a ton of credit for that. Time will tell what they do with all of their money, but it’s hard to argue the front office hasn’t done everything they can to put the team in the best position to succeed going into the offseason.
As a fan, that’s really all you can ask for.