As the trade currently stands —Davis for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and a boatload of draft picks — the Lakers would have less than $24 million in cap space if it goes through as planned on July 6 and Anthony Davis declines to waive his $4 million trade bonus.
That would leave the Lakers with nowhere close to enough cap space to sign their desired third star when free agency begins on the same day, be it Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or someone else.
The Lakers are trying to remedy that by expanding the Davis trade by offering even more players to other teams in hopes of clearing cap space, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Lakers are trying to expand Anthony Davis trade and create ability to open max salary slot on July 6, sources tell @BobbyMarks42 and me. Lakers offering contracts of Mo Wagner/Jemerrio Jones/Isaac Bonga to additional teams, so LA can satisfy CBA rules on creating $32M in space.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 19, 2019
Under this scenario, Davis would need to waive all of his $4M trade bonus to make the money work. If there is a taker(s), LAL could sign 1 or multiple players with $32.5M in room on 7/6 and still make the AD trade on the same day. As of now, Los Angels will have $23.8M in room. https://t.co/uGcfasjGFo— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 19, 2019
The three players mentioned are forward Mo Wagner ($2.1 million cap figure, per Spotrac), Jermerrio Jones ($1.4 million) and Isaac Bonga ($1.4 million).
Considering the Lakers’ cap sheet for next year currently consists of only James, Davis, Wagner, Jones, Bonga and Kyle Kuzma, this would represent a near complete clearing out of the Lakers’ depth.
The order in which the trade and free agent signings take place could end up being the deciding factor for the Lakers’ efforts.
However, that scenario relies on Lakers using cap space to complete the trade. If AD waives enough of his trade bonus, space could be used first, THEN trade executed as over the cap team using matching salary. In that case, LAL can use the $32.5m in room they originally had.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) June 19, 2019
Also reportedly in the cards for the Lakers is the aggressive pursuit of second-round picks in this year’s draft, which represent easy ways to fill out roster spots. The Lakers currently have zero picks in this year’s draft.
Lakers are aggressively pursuing the purchase of second-round picks in Thursday's NBA Draft too, league sources tell ESPN. Those picks will offer two important things for LA: acquisition of inexpensive labor and ability to exceed the salary cap with those minimum contracts. https://t.co/19s9qn8Lbm— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 19, 2019
As fun as it would be, this isn’t setting up for the Lakers to field a team consisting of only James, Davis, Free Agent X and Kyle Kuzma on opening night. The logjam comes due to the timing of the trade and NBA salary cap rules.
We’ll see what depth comes out of the woodwork in what has become the NBA’s busiest offseason.
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