- The Los Angeles Lakers made two critical moves on Thursday to put themselves in position to land another superstar through free agency.
- First, the Lakers added a salary dump to the Anthony Davis trade, sending a few millions’ worth in contracts to the Washington Wizards to free up cap space.
- Davis also agreed to waive a $US4 million trade kicker he was set to earn, giving the Lakers enough space to offer a max contract to another superstar that could join him and LeBron in Los Angeles.
- With the money saved on Thursday, the Lakers could pursue an All-Star guard such as Kyrie Irving or D’Angelo Russell, or even pitch Kawhi Leonard on joining the team.
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The Los Angeles Lakers are staying active in the NBA offseason.
After starting with a splash, trading a king’s ransom to the New Orleans Pelicans to bring Anthony Davis to the team, the Lakers made two critical moves on Thursday that put them in position to add another superstar when free agency begins on Sunday.
First, according to ESPN’sAdrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe, and Bobby Marks, the Lakers added a third team – the Washington Wizards – to the Anthony Davis trade. The deal will now send the contracts of Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards, freeing up millions for the Lakers to spend on another star.
In the same report, ESPN said Davis would be waiving the $US4 million “trade kicker” – basically a bonus – that he was entitled to after being traded from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
With free agency set to begin on Sunday, it was initially unclear in the immediate wake of the Davis trade whether or not the Lakers would have enough cap space to chase another player demanding a max contract.
But thanks to the two moves Los Angeles made on Thursday, the Lakers should now have the $US32 million in cap space necessary to offer a max deal when free agency opens up on Sunday.
Now that the Lakers’ books are a bit more balanced, all that’s left is to go and chase another star in hopes of forming a new “Big 3” alongside LeBron and Davis.
Given the needs of the team as it stands, it would make sense for the Lakers to chase one of the marquee guards expected to be available. While Kemba Walker is already expected to head to Boston, there’s a chance that the Lakers could entice D’Angelo Russell back from the Brooklyn Nets or even persuade Irving to team with James again after their days together in Cleveland.
While a guard might make the most sense, the Lakers are also expected to make their case to Kawhi Leonard, who has been rumoured to have the desire to play back home in Los Angeles for some time.
It took a bit of creative accounting, as well as the help of Davis waiving his $US4 million bonus, but the Lakers are set to be a player when free agency begins, and they are looking more and more like favourites to win the West Conference next season.
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