Lakers Roster, Rumored Free-Agent Targets with Max Salary-Cap Space

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis share a light moment during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Thanks to some additional maneuvering, the Los Angeles Lakers are set up to be major players if they want to pursue a superstar in free agency. 

Per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks, the Lakers will have $32 million in cap space on July 6 after amending their trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis to include the Washington Wizards

The Wizards will receive Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones when the deal is finalized. Davis is also waiving his $4 million trade bonus to facilitate the trade. 

As a result, Los Angeles' roster is currently thin after the trio of Davis, LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. 


Lakers Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)

Anthony Davis, PF: $25.4M (2021)

Kyle Kuzma, PF: $1.7M (2021)

LeBron James, SF: $38.3M (2022)

Talen Horton-Tucker, SF: N/A (Acquired draft rights from Orlando Magic, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium)

Alex Caruso, SG: $1.4M (Qualifying Offer)

Johnathan Williams, PF: $1.4M (Qualifying Offer)


When the deal for Davis was first reported, the Lakers were projected to have only $23.7 million in cap space because of the contracts still on their books and an expectation that Davis wouldn't waive his trade bonus. 

Now that the Lakers have increased that cap number to $32 million, their free-agent prospects have changed significantly. 

The big target who would make this one of the greatest offseasons in NBA history is Kawhi Leonard. The reigning NBA Finals MVP plans to meet with the Lakers after free agency begins Sunday, per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes

As recently as March, ESPN's Michael C. Wright reported on Brian Windhorst's podcast that he had been told Leonard didn't want to play for the Lakers. 

Then again, Leonard reportedly had no interest in re-signing with the Toronto Raptors one year ago. After winning a title with them this past season, Haynes reported he is "seriously considering" re-signing with the the Raptors.

Per Fred Roggin of NBC Los Angeles, the Lakers have also secured a meeting with D'Angelo Russell. The 23-year-old started his career in Los Angeles as the No. 2 pick in 2015, but the Lakers traded him to the Brooklyn Nets two years later when they had an opportunity to draft Lonzo Ball. 

Russell could command a deal starting at $27.25 million, which would leave Los Angeles in a position to sign one more middle-tier free agent for depth. The Lakers will also have the $4.76 million room exception to round out their roster.

While Leonard and Russell are two of the marquee names frequently linked to the Lakers right now, they could also fill out their roster with multiple high-quality role players who can play off of James and Davis. 

Wojnarowski, Lowe and Marks noted the Lakers are interested in "several combinations of players," particularly Danny Green, Terrence Ross and Seth Curry.

One thing those players have in common is an ability to shoot, especially from three-point range. Ross was the worst of the group at 38.3 percent from behind the arc last season. Green finished fifth in the NBA at 45.5 percent, while Curry was in a tie for sixth at 45 percent. 

The Lakers were the NBA's second-worst three-point shooting team in 2018-19 (33.3 percent). They needed to add shooting last year after signing James, but they instead opted to pursue aging veterans with limited skill sets like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee. 

It appears as though the Lakers learned their lesson coming off a 37-45 record based on the type of players they appear ready to pitch on coming to Los Angeles this summer. 


Contract info via Spotrac.com.