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A look at the key offseason moves and changes for every team in the league. Next up are the Los Angeles Lakers.
With a foundation now built on former first- and second-round picks, the Lakers strengthened their core with the additions of a pair of 19-year-olds in the draft.
With little separation between the top two picks overall, the Lakers selected versatile forward Brandon Ingram at No. 2 overall.
Although he played just one season in college, Ingram has the ability to play multiple positions at the NBA level because of his length and skill level.
Second-round pick Ivica Zubac has physical tools (7-foot-4 wingspan) and a great frame, and is coming off a strong summer league in Las Vegas.
The steep price of free agency
The Lakers learned a hard lesson last summer.
Past championships and the appeal of Los Angeles have little impact in free-agent recruiting.
The Lakers had cap space and a nice young core to sell, but they were coming off a 17-win season and had missed the playoffs for three consecutive years. Upgrading the roster would come at the cost of overpaying.
Early in free agency the Lakers set the free-agent market upside down with a $64 million contract for center Timofey Mozgov.
Mozgov comes off a year in Cleveland in which he went from a starter on opening night to a player that saw limited minutes during the Cavaliers’ championship run.
The addition of Luol Deng improved the roster, but also came at a high price (four years, $72 million), especially with Ingram waiting on deck.
Deng, who was with Miami the past two seasons, should be the opening-night starter, serving as a mentor for Ingram.
The impact of both signings, however, will not be felt this year or next summer, but in the future, when the cap levels off and the Lakers are on the hook for two players whose best days are likely behind them.
Restricted free agency: 3-for-3
Restricted free agency not only impacts teams with first-round picks, but in the case of the Lakers, players taken in the second round and those who went undrafted.
The Lakers’ three restricted free agents – second-rounder Jordan Clarkson, and the undrafted Tarik Black and Marcelo Huertas – were signed to multiyear contracts this summer.
1. Luol Deng $18,000,000
2. Timofey Mozgov $16,000,000
3. Jordan Clarkson $12,500,000
4. Jose Calderon $7,708,428
5. Lou Williams $7,000,000
6. Tarik Black $6,191,000
7. Nick Young $5,443,918
8. D’Angelo Russell $5,332,800
9. Brandon Ingram $5,281,680
10. Julius Randle $3,267,120
11. Marcelo Huertas $1,500,000
12. Larry Nance Jr. $1,207,680
13. Ivica Zubac $1,034,956
14. Anthony Brown $874,636
15. Yi Jianlian $8,000,000
16. Travis Wear $874,636
17. Zach Auguste $543,471
Salary table 2016
Guaranteed salaries $91,652,218
Dead money $0
Tax variance $436,960
Free-agent cap holds $0
Incomplete roster charge $0
Salaries: cap $99,885,635
Salaries: tax $100,322,595
Salary cap $94,143,000
Luxury tax $113,287,000
Cap space None ($5,742,635 over)
Tax room $12,964,405
With $23 million in guaranteed contracts, Los Angeles headed into the offseason with close to $60 million in cap space.
The majority of cap space went to free-agent additions Deng and Mozgov, and the return of Clarkson.
The Lakers acquired veteran point guard Jose Calderon from the Bulls using room because Chicago needed to clear cap space to acquire Dwyane Wade.
The remaining cap space was spent on former lottery pick Yi Jianlian.
Though Yi has an $8 million cap hit, Lakers management showed creativity with the structure of the deal.
With only $250,000 guaranteed, Jianlian needs to play in 20, 40 and 59 games to get the entirety of the contract.
Free agents signed in the offseason cannot be traded until either Dec. 15, Jan. 15 or for three months if they signed after Sept. 15.
Clarkson, Deng, Mozgov, Yi, Huertas, Zach Auguste and Travis Wear cannot be traded until Dec. 15.
Tarik Black, with a 15 percent trade bonus in his contract, cannot be traded until Jan. 15 because he signed with early Bird rights and his contract exceeds his previous one by more than 20 percent.
Ingram is not eligible to be traded until Sept. 22. He did not sign his rookie contract until late August.
Jose Calderon, entering the final season of a four-year, $29 million contract signed with Detroit, can have his contract extended. Because the Lakers are over the cap, Calderon’s current salary of $7.7 million can increase only 4.5 percent in the first year of the extension.
Calderon is still within six months of being acquired in a trade, and the Lakers can add only two seasons to his current contract.
Starter Bench Bench
PG D’Angelo Russell Jose Calderon Marcelo Huertas
SG Jordan Clarkson Lou Williams Nick Young
SF Luol Deng Brandon Ingram Anthony Brown
PF Larry Nance Jr. Julius Randle Yi Jianlian/Travis Wear
C Timofey Mozgov Tarik Black Ivica Zubac/Zach Auguste
The Lakers have 14 guaranteed contracts and three players – Yi, Auguste and Wear – with partial/non-guaranteed deals.
Los Angeles still has the $2.89 million room midlevel exception if needed.
SNEAK PEEK TO NEXT SUMMER
The benefit of having four former first-round picks on rookie contracts is continued cap flexibility each summer.
The Lakers, with $23 million in space, could see that room increase based on Black’s $6.6 million non-guaranteed contract and the uncertain future of shooting guard Nick Young.
KEEP AN EYE ON
The veteran point guard might not garner the attention of Ingram, Mozgov or Deng, but he could have the most impact.
Calderon will serve as a valuable resource and mentor for D’Angelo Russell and Clarkson.
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