Following another disappointing campaign by the Lakers, the franchise was hoping to dip into the free agency market and land a few top unrestricted free agents. They did land a star player in Anthony Davis, but that trade has left the Lakers’ bereft of cap space going into the summer, and hence, they face a real threat of missing out on their targets.
A big blow for the Lakers after Anthony Davis trade
At the moment, the free cap space that the Lakers have left after the Davis trade is $23.7 million. That amount is well short of the $27 million required to sign D’Angelo Russell on a max contract. The likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kyrie Irving are even more beyond their reach, with max contracts starting from $32 million.
Inability to launch a third star this summer would be a big blow for the Lakers. There is a way for them to increase their cap space, however. But it requires a few things to go their way.
Whoah. @stephenasmith just told @Espngreeny on @GetUpESPN that Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering joining LeBron James + Anthony Davis on the @Lakers. Sponsor New Balance would love for Leonard to be in LA, said Stephen A. 'The Lakers are in play.'
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) June 28, 2019
How Lakers can increase their cap space
First, the Lakers need Davis to drop his trade bonus when he arrives from the New Orleans Pelicans. That will save them $4 million right away and will allow them to sign D’Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent.
Beyond that, they need to somehow get rid of Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and Moritz Wagner. However, any negotiations so far have not been fruitful.
If they do manage to get rid of the deadwood, they will have a full $32 million in cap space and will be able to look at better free agent targets, like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant.