The Los Angeles Lakers have made their next move to prepare for free agency after officially completing their trade for Dennis Schröder on Wednesday night: The team is waiving veteran point guard Quinn Cook, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Cook was a beloved locker-room presence on this team, best friends with seemingly everyone, but he barely played during the Lakers’ run to the title, so this move is not a surprise. At least he got a ring out of his one year playing for the team he grew up rooting for, so that’s not nothing. His salary would have been potentially useful as ballast in a deal for a bigger player, but after acquiring Schröder, the Lakers may be done on the trade market, so cutting Cook ahead of free agency allows them to get more financial flexibility in a different way.
As Charania alluded to in his tweet, Cook’s $3 million salary was only partially guaranteed for $1 million this season, meaning that the Lakers just freed up $2 million in salary room to get them closer to having the full use of their mid-level exception, but it’s not enough on its own.
Still, in addition to opening up a roster spot, this does inch the Lakers towards the type of free agency flexibility they’re seeking as they wait to see whether their players with team options will officially opt in or out today.
With Cook now gone, the key decisions to keep an eye out for the Lakers regarding their ability to obtain the full MLE: Rondo, Bradley, McGee AND what KCP's raise looks like (if assuming he's back).— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) November 19, 2020
I personally am skeptical that the Lakers will be a team under the cap next summer - would likely mean moving beyond Schroder, Kuzma and basically everyone but AD/LBJ— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 19, 2020
On his call with the media 10 minutes before this move was announced, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said the team wasn’t done making moves. He clearly wasn’t kidding.
Best of luck to Quinn at his next stop.
This developing story will be updated with more information as it comes out. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.