From the looks of things, it seems the Lakers were a bit hasty in securing a deal for Anthony Davis and didn’t necessarily look through the cap implications of the deal they made. As currently projected, the Lakers would fall under the max contract amount – likely putting them out of the running for names like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Kyrie Irving.
However, the Lakers can go out and attempt to dump their remaining players in an effort to free up some extra space to land a third star player to complete their ideal “Big Three”.
Lakers Confident They Can Clear Room For Max Free Agent Contract [Report]
The Athletic – While a source with knowledge of the Knicks’ plans said they appear likely to get a meeting with Leonard, the Lakers’ prospects are harder to gauge. This much is safe to say, though: Their ability to not only offer his preferred market, all the business benefits that come with their storied brand and the chance to partner with James and Davis might ultimately play a part here (as our Bill Oram notes here, the Lakers — who are on track to have $23.7 million in cap room if the Davis deal goes down on July 6 as expected — are confident they can make the necessary moves to fit in another max salary).
As Sam Amick of The Athletic reports, despite coming in under the max slot, the Lakers have reason to believe that they will be able to dump the remaining contracts of Bonga, Jones, Wagner, maybe even Kuzma.
While it isn’t tough to dump small salaries like the ones that the aforementioned players have, the rest of the league might simply not let it happen as a way to block the Lakers from creating their own big three. More importantly, the Lakers’ draft capital is extremely scarce, making the possibility to attach a pick to one of the contracts harder to achieve.
Lakers Free Agent Targets If Unable To Clear Space
The biggest target for the Lakers should they be unable to clear extra room would be D’Angelo Russell. While not his max of $27 million, the Lakers could give him a relatively close deal with an AAV of $20+ million. The market for Russell is fairly unknown and while there may be another team that swoops in and offers him the max (should Brooklyn make him an unrestricted free agent), the majority of the chatter has been focused on him returning to the Lakers.