As athletes and other professional sports entities continue to further demolish the barrier between themselves and fans through the use of social media, NBA free agency has become increasingly less filled with anonymous sources and rumors, with more news coming to us directly from — and attributed to — the people involved.
Perhaps there is no better example of this than Toronto Raptors guard and unrestricted free agent Danny Green doing an Instagram Live question and answer session about free agency, during his free agency, along with his podcast co-host Harrison D. Sanford.
Both on the air and in the aftermath, the two confirmed rumors that Green is a player the Lakers are planning to look at this summer:
We got to get DG some better WiFi - Hope I answered all of your questions ... in short, no decision made. LAL, DAL & TOR are all real possibilities. Kawhi’s decision does play a role in many ways. We’ll get DG some better service and run it back proper soonish ... night— Harrison D. Sanford (@HarrisonSanford) July 1, 2019
This is straight from the IG Live Danny did for @YahooCASports with @HarrisonSanford.— Vivek Jacob (@VivekMJacob) July 1, 2019
Also according to Sanford, Green’s talk with the Lakers was “one of the longer calls” he’s taken so far, so take that for what you will:
Danny Green’s associate says Lakers have called Danny Green and it was one of the longer calls https://t.co/X8ovEoQP0w pic.twitter.com/lHkCuvHIw9— captain super (@ImSuperCap) July 1, 2019
What does this all mean? Probably not a whole lot until the Lakers get a decision from Kawhi Leonard, who didn’t take any meetings on Sunday and may let his process stretch into this week.
If the Lakers get Leonard, Green may be too expensive for their remaining cap exceptions, but in a vacuum he’d be a great get whether Leonard joins or not. A career 40.4 percent 3-point shooter who knocked down 45.5 percent of his triples last year, Green is a sniper who could help space the floor around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Leonard, or just the former two players. The Lakers need shooting either way.
However, Green would seem to be much more in play — at least financially, barring him taking a steep discount to continue trailing Leonard as a sweet-shooting remora fish — if the Lakers don’t land his Raptors teammate. The Lakers have around $32 million in cap room, but almost all of that would go to Leonard if he came, which would leave L.A. with just the room exception, worth around $4.8 million, which would be well below Green’s projected market value of $10-12 million.
Yes, Green (or Leonard) could take a steep discount, but both of those outcomes seem unlikely. More plausibly, the Lakers may have to ask Green to remain in a holding pattern while they wait on Leonard. Will he be willing to do that? I have no idea, but it’s the big question facing the Lakers about all their free agent targets as they wait on Leonard’s choice. It’s a dangerous tightrope they’re walking, but also the smartest path forward. We’ll see if the front office can manage the balance, and how long Green and other free agents will wait for them to figure things out.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. Here is a list of every free agent credibly connected to the Lakers so far. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.