The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves with little wiggle room within the salary cap, but the team still has options to improve their roster heading into next season. ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who was a longtime Brooklyn front-office executive, believes Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Spurs star DeMar DeRozan are two potential targets for the Lakers. Given their cap situation, the Lakers likely need a sign-and-trade to acquire either player.
“A sign-and-trade is an option, but it would trigger the $143 million hard cap, meaning the Lakers would need to shed the contracts of Harrell and either Kyle Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope,” Marks detailed. “Is there a team out there that would take on the $39 million owed to Kuzma or the $17 million owed to Caldwell-Pope?
“For example, would Brooklyn consider Kuzma and the No. 22 pick in this month’s draft to help facilitate a Dinwiddie sign-and-trade? The $13 million Kuzma contract would add to the Nets’ substantial luxury tax bill. DeRozan makes sense for the Lakers, but would the Spurs want back a package of Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma and the 22nd pick?”
Both Dinwiddie and DeRozan are L.A. natives who have been mentioned in Lakers rumors this offseason. Signing either player would likely mean the end of Dennis Schroder’s time with the Lakers.
NBA Insider Predicts More Sign-and-Trades in Free Agency
The Lakers may not have cap space, but they are not alone in this quandary. The majority of contenders find themselves strapped against the salary cap which means they also need to pull off a sign-and-trade to make a major move in free agency.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and company are in a more challenging situation than most with as many as 10 free agents on the roster, leaving them with few tradeable assets for a potential deal. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer expects there to be more sign-and-trades this offseason.
“Sign-and-trades work because all parties benefit, because all parties have to agree,” an NBA team’s cap analyst told Bleacher Report. “And it allows the player, in theory, to make more money than they could otherwise make with a team that doesn’t have cap space.”
Schroder Represents a Potential Sign-and-Trade Candidate for the Lakers
Schroder turned down the Lakers’ contract extension offer during the season emphasizing on multiple occasions that he wanted to test out free agency. Pelinka indicated Schroder is a priority for the Lakers this offseason, but the bigger question is what the team’s top offer for the guard will be this summer. The Lakers could find that a team like the Knicks with cap space is willing to spend more than Los Angeles is comfortable paying Schroder.
This makes Schroder a potential sign-and-trade candidate for the Lakers to get something in return if they are unable to agree to a long-term deal. In an ideal world, Schroder would choose a team that also has a free agent that the Lakers are interested in adding. This could lead to a double sign-and-trade, but Schroder controls his future making this scenario unlikely.
“With Schroder notably declining the Lakers’ four-year, $84 million offer earlier this year, sources confirmed to Bleacher Report, it has opened the door for Los Angeles to explore sign-and-trade opportunities this summer,” Fischer reported. “The point guard appears to be looking for a greater role and a bigger payday, neither of which the Lakers seem willing to provide. Schroder also happens to be the best trade chip Los Angeles holds to upgrade its roster.
“League sources expect Chicago and New York to emerge as Schroder suitors, and both could be conducted via sign-and-trade—although Knicks certainly have the cap space to sign him outright. New York will likely have north of $50 million to spend this summer. Meanwhile, Los Angeles continues to gauge rival teams’ interest in Kyle Kuzma, sources told B/R, although Schroder does carry a higher trade value around the NBA.”