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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Report: Lakers looking to clear salary cap space for third max contract player

Rob Pelinka

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to clear salary cap space to make a max contract offer this summer, according to a report.

The Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a trade that will bring Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. The problem for the Lakers is that between a July 6 trade date and Davis’ trade kicker, they would only have around $23.8 million in cap space based on their current roster commitments. In order to open up around $32 million in cap space — enough for a max contract offer — Davis would have to waive his $4.1 million trade kicker, and the Lakers would have to trade the players currently under contract for next season.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are doing just that and looking to trade Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones, and Isaac Bonga. Those players are under contract for a total of around $5 million next season.

Trading those players plus getting Davis to waive his trade bonus would create enough room for a third max contract player. One player they’re said to be targeting is Kemba Walker. Other players on the market expected to receive max contracts include Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

While having three max players under contract sounds great, the Lakers would still be struggling with depth as they try to fill out the rest of their roster. They are keeping Kyle Kuzma, who makes just under $2 million next season, but that would only give them four players under contract — Davis, LeBron James, and the third max player would be the other. They would have to go very cheap for the rest of their roster, which also explains why they’re trying to get into the draft with some second-round picks to help fill things out.

The Lakers would have a great core if they can add a third max player, but they would be really hurting for depth and would have a very hard time sustaining any sort of injury to their stars.

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