Report: Lakers exploring options to create third max contract slot

first_imgThe Lakers’ path to a third max-salary contract slot for free agency is hazy, but still possible. And the team is still exploring its options to get there.According to an ESPN report, the Lakers are looking for a third team in their pending Anthony Davis trade with New Orleans to take on more of their contracts, potentially opening enough space to chase one of the elite free agents this summer. Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones, all players who made their Lakers debuts last year and are on rookie deals, are the trade chips being discussed.The Lakers’ ability to acquire a third All-Star via free agent has been hotly discussed since Saturday, when they first agreed to terms with the Pelicans to receive Davis. The franchise has thinly veiled aims to secure another star to place alongside LeBron James and Davis: Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving are considered among the prime targets.But two issues have complicated the Lakers’ path to the magic number of $32.7 million required to offer one of those stars a max contract. It remains unclear how much interest the Lakers have generated in the offer. Wagner, Bonga and Jones were seldom-used players last season, with Jones being called up at the end of the year. Jones’ deal is not yet guaranteed for next season, but it would have to be for inclusion in any trade.Such a deal would sap the Lakers’ options to build a supporting cast even more than they already have: Kyle Kuzma, James and Davis would be the only players under contract if the team shipped out all of the players mentioned in the report, and a third max contract would limit how much the Lakers could spend on role players in free agency. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs The team might be hunting for creative ways to supplement the roster as well: ESPN added that the Lakers are also looking to buy their way into the second round of Thursday’s draft.The Lakers currently have no picks in the draft: The No. 4 pick is going to the Pelicans in the Davis trade, while the second-round pick now belongs to the Atlanta Hawks after a long conveyance from a 2015 trade for Roy Hibbert. Second-round picks can be signed for minimum contract exceptions that don’t count against the salary cap. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersFor one, the Lakers would free up space by signing the No. 4 draft pick then waiting 30 days for that player’s salary to count toward the trade. But whoever receives the No. 4 pick – whether it’s the Pelicans, or whether they trade the pick elsewhere – is unlikely to want to wait beyond July 6, the first possible day the deal can officially be executed. Summer league in Las Vegas begins on July 5, and any team would be pressed to find incentive to help the Lakers save money by waiting for a rookie to arrive.The other issue is Davis’ $4.1 million trade kicker that counts against the Lakers’ salary cap, which the 26-year-old star could waive but has no obligation to do so. The resulting hits to the Lakers’ cap shrinks what could be an estimated $32.7 million to just below $24 million in money to spend during one of the NBA’s most anticipated free agency periods ever.However, the report indicates that a third team could take on the salaries of Wagner, Bonga or Jones. It would total roughly a combined $4.9 million that, if the Lakers can then convince Davis to waive his kicker, would get the Lakers to a max salary slot.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img

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