Way Too Early Offseason Moves

As with most of my ideas, I stumbled onto this one completely by accident.

The Lakers have a few options this off-season - the most obvious would be to use Bird Rights to retain Russell, Reaves, and Rui and use the TPMLE to either re-sign Brown, Jr/Walker IV/etc. or pick up a free agent.

There are quite a few variations on this, but next year's lineup would (more or less) be:

C: Bamba, Vet Min(or FRP)

PF: AD, Vando, Rui


SG: Beasley, Reaves, Christie

PG: Russell, Vet Min(or FRP)

+ Vet Mins

Not bad. Not bad at all.

But there's another option. An unconventional option. A wild and crazy option. An option so abnormally twisted and aberrant that I pretty much HAVE to put it out there:

Offer Brook Lopez the Full MLE.

Yes. The full MLE.

Brook Lopez is an unrestricted free agent next year. The Bucks have Bird Rights on him but are so close to the tax apron that they would struggle to offer him $11.4m (the full MLE). Lopez is no spring chicken, but he can shoot and protect the rim: the perfect compliment to Lebron and Anthony Davis.

OK, sounds great, but how do they do it? Release guys. Plain and simple. That would be tough considering the Lakers just got them and they'd be getting nothing for them. It would look a little something like this (basic summary only):

  1. keep AD, LBJ, Vando, and Christie
  2. release Beasley, Bamba, Reed
  3. retain Reaves' cap hold ($2m)
  4. renounce all remaining cap holds
  5. (hopefully) re-sign Russell for $25m/year
  6. (hopefully) re-sign Troy Brown Jr for $6m

Those moves would put the Lakers' salary (and Reaves' cap hold) at $133.4m....just enough to offer Lopez the full MLE ($11.4m). They would then extend Reaves for $8m and still remain well under the hard cap, which means they could still execute a trade if one came up (and, of course, salaries matched)

That would put the Lakers lineup at:

C: Lopez, Vet Min(or FRP)

PF: AD, Vando

SF: LBJ, TBJ (no relation)

SG: Reaves, Christie, Vet Min(or FRP)

PG: Russell, Vet Min(or FRP)

+ Vet Mins

Obviously, health is the key, but I'm trying REAL hard to find something wrong with this lineup:

rim protection? check

rebounding? check

perimeter defense? check

shooting? check

ball handling/playmaking? check

The ONLY weakness I can see is that they'd have to give a vet minimum (or rookie) guard - most likely a point - regular rotation minutes (20-25mpg). They could hide the backup big by running small rotations, but I don't see a way around the guard part. They could probably tighten it up a bit in the playoffs anyway.

They'd also be relying on Reaves to run with the starters all season - is he ready?