Every summer, one of the biggest questions for fans of every NBA team concerns how much salary cap space their team can free up to add players, either in free agency, or in trades. Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly no different, especially given this team’s proven track record of pulling stars out of their hat in the offseason.
And with the salary cap currently projected to be $123.6 million for the summer of 2022, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the Lakers currently will have no cap space in this offseason’s free agency period. The Lakers can still exceed the cap to re-sign some of their own free agents that they have Bird Rights on, with veteran’s minimum contracts and so forth, but this team does not have a ton of wiggle room to add to the roster.
That’s largely a function of how the Lakers chose to build, prioritizing the assembly of their own big three above the ability to add more expensive types of role players. With Russell Westbrook (player option worth approximately $47.1 million that he opted into right before free agency started) LeBron James ($44.5 million guaranteed) and Anthony Davis ($37.9 million guaranteed), to paraphrase Gene Hackman, the Lakers’ team is on the floor. Just between those three players, that is around $129.5 million in committed salary, putting the Lakers comfortably above the cap.
And even beyond the Big 3, the Lakers also have a little over $15 million combined committed to Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn, the latter of whom also opted into his player option.
Essentially, if they want to add difference makers this summer, it will require some creativity and/or players taking discounts.
Below is the team’s full salary sheet, courtesy of Basketball-Reference:
We will be keeping this story updated with salary information, potential cap scenarios and other analysis once the 2022-23 roster is filled out, so bookmark it to stay up to date on everything you need to know about the Lakers’ salary situation.