After unloading Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones onto the Washington Wizards, the Los Angeles Lakers will have $32 million in cap space this summer, which is conceivably enough money to get an All-Star player like Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler to consider the Lakers in free agency, even though it would require them taking a $700,000 paycut.
However, the Lakers could also split that money up and fill out their bench. Of course, getting a star is the team’s first priority, but if they’re unable to secure a max-level free agent, they already have their eyes on a few players, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Lakers are expected to pursue several scenarios in free agency, including Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent now -- and Toronto star Kawhi Leonard, league sources said. If the Lakers decide to break up the money, they’re interested in several combinations of players including Toronto Raptors Danny Green, Orlando Magic Terrence Ross, Portland Trail Blazer Seth Curry and several other free agents with a strong shooting ability.
The one thing Green, Ross and Curry all have in common? They can all shoot the lights out from behind the 3-point line.
Last season, only three players shot at least 45 percent from behind the arc while attempting at least 3-pointers per game: Curry, Green and Joe Harris, who shot a blistering 47.4 percent from 3-point range.
Ross might not be on the same level as Curry or Green, but he’s still a respectable 3-point shooter, especially considering the volume in which he takes them at. Last season, Ross shot 38.3 percent from behind the arc on 566 total attempts, the 12th-most 3-point attempts in the NBA. He also finished the season ranked 10th in total 3-pointers made (217).
Obviously landing Leonard and building one of the most dominant big threes in NBA history would be a tremendous accomplishment for the Lakers, but surrounding Anthony Davis and LeBron James with shooters like Curry, Green and Ross wouldn’t be a bad “Plan B.”
There’s also the possibility that the Lakers sign Russell to a deal that is a little less than his max, allowing them to offer a lucrative one-year deal to one of Curry, Green and Ross. If they can get one of them to sign for the room exception, that’s just icing on top of the cake.
It goes without saying, but the Lakers have options this summer. We’ll find out which direction they end up going in within the next week.