As the world awaits the final word from Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Lakers’ top free-agent target, the team’s roster remains a hot-button topic. After the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis via trade earlier in the offseason and proceeded to clear additional cap space by tacking on other contracts, it cleared a path to potentially sign Leonard.
But after the first day of free agency, the Lakers have been incredibly quiet as they await word on the All-Star forward’s decision. As The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, the lone signing thus far is guard Troy Daniels, who inked a one-year, $2.1 million deal.
Following the trade for Davis, along with the addition of Daniels, it leaves the Lakers with just four players on their current roster. Unfortunately, they can’t make any big decisions about free agent moves until Leonard’s final decision is in, because signing him would take up virtually all of their salary cap space.
Let’s take a look a Lakers roster and starting lineup to this point in free agency.
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Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup Through Start of Free Agency
*Notates expected starter
C: Anthony Davis*
PF: LeBron James*, Jared Dudley
SF: Kyle Kuzma*
F: Troy Daniels
Update: As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, the Lakers signed Jared Dudley to a one-year, $2.6 million deal.
As seen above, the Lakers don’t currently have a point guard and it’s likely Daniels will be one of the team’s second-unit players after the roster gets rounded out. Obviously, quite a bit can change but the bottom line is that everything will depend on whether Leonard opts to join LeBron and company or not.
Even if the former Toronto Raptors forward does head to Los Angeles, the team’s outlook and roster will remain a work in progress. This is largely due to the fact that Davis is unlikely to play center, which could potentially leave the team with four starting-caliber forwards in James, Davis, Leonard and Kuzma.
It’s likely that free agents will have a high level of interest in joining the Lakers, regardless of whether Leonard is in the mix or not. But the front office’s ability to either spend more on free agents or offer smaller contracts is the No. 2 topic behind the status of the 28-year-old All-Star.
Lakers Linked to Andre Iguodala
Among the many players who have already been connected to the Lakers as potential free agent signings, one name that stands out is Andre Iguodala, although he’s not actually on the market yet. After Iguodala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies as a part of the deal which sent D’Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors and Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, there’s belief he could be bought out of his deal.
“He [Iguodala] has basically, according to sources, informed everybody – what he is going to do is, he is going to work out a buyout and then go to the Lakers,” Smith said.
He continued to state that he’s unsure as to whether that will definitively happen, but it’s among the moves worth watching over the coming days.