This offseason, the NBA's salary cap is likely going to impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, potentially even decreasing ahead of the 2020-21 season. There are going to be many teams affected by the situation, and that could include the Los Angeles Lakers.
There are numerous different ways the offseason could go for the Lakers, and that was the case even before it became apparent that the pandemic could impact the salary cap. That's because they have a handful of players with player options for next season, including star power forward Anthony Davis.
The Athletic's John Hollinger recently broke down Los Angeles' upcoming offseason and the players who will have decisions to make about whether to return to the team next season. Hollinger thinks it's clear that Davis will opt out and re-sign with the Lakers on a max contract, noting that would be $32.7 million "under an adjusted cap."
Hollinger doesn't think things are going to be as clear for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Avery Bradley, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo.
"[All four] are reasonably paid and could just as easily opt in as not," Hollinger wrote. "It’s equally possible all four opt out, which would give the Lakers $36 million in room from the tax, but also leave seven open roster spots to fill—at least a couple of which would need to be filled by re-signing the aforementioned players."
Of course, if all four of those players opt in, it would give the Lakers less flexibility to potentially sign any other players. But they also wouldn't have as many needs with those players back on their roster.
While each of those four players have had contributions during Los Angeles' successful 2019-20 season, it might be Caldwell-Pope and McGee who would be the most valuable to the team moving forward. Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.5 points over 63 games, mostly coming off the bench, while McGee started 61 games at center and averaged 6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Not only do the Lakers have five players with player options, but they also have several veteran players who are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, a group that includes Dwight Howard. In his return season to Los Angeles, Howard has become a valuable bench player, averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 62 games.
Howard signed a minimum deal with the Lakers prior to this bounce-back season, but it's unlikely he'd do so again for 2020-21, which Hollinger noted as he broke down Howard's situation entering the offseason.
"Assuming he’s too good to sign another minimum deal, it means the Lakers would have to use a chunk of their mid-level ($9.25 million) to re-sign him," Hollinger wrote.
So, there will be a lot to monitor regarding the Lakers when the offseason arrives as players make decisions on their options and they decide how to best construct their roster on a potentially lower salary cap and possibly with multiple holes to fill.