They have a lot of roster holes to deal with.
It’s not quite that absolute—they also have Kendall Marshall under a non-guaranteed contract, plus Nick Young who will no doubt exercise his player’s option, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
There has been a lot of talk about the amount of cap space they have to spend this summer—a maximum of $28.2 million, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
As Pincus points out, however, that amount is predicated on the Lakers renouncing every free agent along with their respective cap holds. Those holds include $20.3 million for Pau Gasol, $6.7 million for Jordan Hill and $2.0 million for Jodie Meeks:
If the Lakers keep Nash and choose not to renounce Meeks, the team would have up to $20.8 million in cap space. Meeks can then be signed via his "Early Bird rights" to a contract starting in the neighborhood of $5.6 million for next season.
The Lakers can also make qualifying offers to Ryan Kelly ($1.0 million) and Kent Bazemore ($1.1 million) to make both players restricted free agents. Should the Lakers also keep Marshall's non-guaranteed deal with Kelly, Bazemore, Nash and Meeks, the franchise would still have $19.3 million to spend.
The Lakers will also pay approximately $2.5 million to their No. 7 pick in the upcoming draft.
That would leave approximately $17 million to spend on around six players. Management will have to choose wisely. This could entail spending on one sought-after free agent and spending the remaining amount on minimum-salary deals.
And who might the Lakers pursue for that one sizable contract?
For the purpose of this article, only free agents who don’t currently wear the Purple and Gold will be ranked.