With the Lakers shipping off Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards for cap flexibility, they now have the full ability to go after just about any max contract free agent on the market. While the Lakers have been linked to a number of elite players, they have meetings set in place with two potential options already, Kawhi Leonard and D’Angelo Russell.
Lakers Free Agency: Kawhi Leonard Meeting Updates
Yahoo Sport’s Chris B. Haynes reported on Thursday that the Lakers did, in fact, have a meeting pinned down with Kawhi Leonard. Although the Raptors have been granted the last meeting with Kawhi – forcing the Lakers to wait and possibly miss out on other targets – the fact that the Lakers are even getting facetime with Leonard is huge news for the possibility of building the most talented “Big Three” the NBA has ever seen (on paper).
The Lakers would only have the “room exception” left should they somehow land Leonard (worth roughly $4.7 mil) as well as veteran minimum contracts to fill out the roster. That said, an unprecedented number of players are hitting free agency this summer (nearly 40% of the league) and there could be quite a few bargain deals available to piece together a roster of decent players on minimum deals.
Lakers Free Agency: D’Angelo Russell Meeting Updates
In a strange twist of fate, D’Angelo Russell finds himself with the possibility to reunite with the Lakers. Russell seems to have no hard feelings towards the Lakers after Magic left the organization and getting Russell back in free agency would amount to a massive turnaround in the way history looks back on the Russell-Mozgov salary dump.
Coming off a career season, Russell offers the Lakers an interesting option as he costs significantly cheaper compared to a player like Kawhi Leonard. Russell’s max salary is only roughly $27 million, giving the Lakers an additional $5 million in cap space to add an above average role player to the roster.
While Russell’s notoriously high usage rate would take a nosedive alongside James and Davis, his ability to create shots and crafty passing ability could make him an extremely effective third option and secondary ball-handler in the Lakers offense.