In an absolutely MASSIVE move for the Lakers free agency plans, they dealt off Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards in order to help clear out cap space to get a max free agent.
However, the Lakers still sat a bit short of being able to sign one of the elite max contract free agents and needed their new superstar Anthony Davis to step in and save the day.
Lakers Can Now Sign Max Free Agent Thanks to Anthony Davis
In addition to the trade, Davis wound up waiving his $4 million trade kicker. This puts the Lakers right at the $32 million threshold they need to go out and sign a max contract free agent. With the idea to pair LeBron and Davis with another third star seemingly coming to fruition, Laker fans are now left wondering just which max player the Lakers have as their top priority.
Among the available options, it seems that the most likely trio remaining is Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and D’Angelo Russell (assuming the Nets sign Kyrie). While Kawhi is objectively the best player of the three, going after D’Angelo Russell offers the Lakers a unique scenario where they actually would save about $5 million in cap space that they could use on another player before having to dip into league exceptions and veteran minimum contracts.
Lakers Dump Salary in Trade With Wizards
By moving Bonga, Wagner, and Jones the Lakers now only have three players on their roster – Kyle Kuzma, Davis, and James. They extended qualifying offers to Alex Caruso and Jonathan Williams, both of whom will likely find their way back on the roster for next season.
All in all, the Lakers have a nearly blank slate and max contract money to fill out their roster however they see fit. Seeing as they just traded the last remaining depth, it seems clear that the plan is to find a max free agent and simply fill the roster out with veteran minimum contracts from there on out.