If the Lakers stand pat and just let the Russ deal expire they will have about 35 mil in cap space and three picks to trade (23', 27' and 29'). So here are their options:
1) They should keep Reeves, who will have a 2 mil cap hold and they can resign him using early bird rights for starting salary of ~10 mil/year (maybe 3 years ~33 mil, similar to the THT deal) which sounds like a fair deal for both sides
2) That leaves about 33 mil for the free agents. Lakers need shooting wings who can play passible D, so here are top non star options:
– Josh hart, 13 mil player option, in his prime (28) 3&D player who plays winning basketball
– Kyle Kuzma, 13 mil player option, in his prime (28) combo forward, average shooter, really advanced his game this year
– Harrison Barnes, FA, bit older (31) and has a down year shooting the ball, probably will get overpaid
– Gerami Grant, FA, in his prime (29) combo forward, average shooter, above average on D, probably will extend with Portland for over 25 mi/year
– Christian Wood, FA, headcase, puts up numbers, probably get overpaid
– Bogdan Bogdanovic, 18 mil player option, a bit older (31) and very injury prone, awesome offensive player
– Bruce Brown, 7 mil player option, in his prime (27) 3&D player who plays winning basketball, might be gettable for the MLE (11 mil/year starting salary)
– Gary Trent Jr., 19 mil player option, still young (24), great offensive player, very small and gets targeted on D
So I think they can get Hart (14-15 mil/year) and Kuzma (~20 mil/year), while using the MLE on Bruce Brown. Also, they can possibly trade Christie (1.7 mil) and Damian Jones (2.6 mil player option which he will definitely pick up) with a 2023 pick for a player like Caruso (9.5 mil) and still be able to sign Hart, Kuz and Brown, while keeping 27 and 29 picks. This will give LA perfect role players in their prime to pair with AD and LBJ, while keeping Reeves. So the lineup of Caruso, Hart, LBJ, Kuz and AD, with Reeves, Brown and a few min players looks very good.
I left out PGs and Centers, cuz I think you can get them for the cheap (like T. Bryant and Schroder).
3) They can use those 3 picks and 2 swaps for a player like OG Anunoby, who will be an awesome fir next LA's stars, while still having enough cap space and MLE to use on Hart and Brown
4) Trading for and ALL Star - guys like DeRozan, Lavine, Beal might be attainable with those picks, but only DeRozan fits in that 35 mil cap space, while LA doesn't have any contracts beyond AD and LBJ to match Beal or Lavine deals. I don't think LA needs a third star, especially aging and/or injury prone ones.
So what do you guys think?