Silly season in the NBA kicked on Saturday with the bombshell trade of Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and a whole bunch of picks and future swaps. The haul isn't Celtics/Nets level, but the Pelicans did very well for themselves, especially when you consider how hard it is to get value back for a superstar these days. While the Pels future down the road looks bright, the Lakers immediate future looks like a straight up title contender. Vegas agrees, too.
With the AD trade finally done, the Lakers will now shift to filling out their roster through free agency. While Lakers fans on Twitter will have you convinced every max free agent is knocking on the door to join LeBron and AD, the amount of money the team can spend this summer actually comes down to when the Anthony Davis trade is completed.
If the trade is processed on July 6, the Lakers would be using cap space to bring AD onto their roster and thus would have between $23.7-27.7 million available to sign free agents. The $4 million difference depends on if Davis waives his trade kicker. If the trade is processed on July 30 when the Lakers could use the salary from the 4th pick in the draft to match salaries, they would then have around $32.5 million in cap and could sign a max guy.
According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Pelicans would prefer to process the deal on July 6, which could make this all very interesting going forward. Could the Lakers push to move the trade to late July, leading the Pelicans to ask for another pick? Could be a fascinating development to watch. Per a league source, the Pelicans are excited about their optionality going forward.
Regardless of when the trade happens, the Lakers must now fill out their roster and continue building a championship roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. We ran through some potential free agents they could sign this summer, broken down between max guys and role player additions to build up depth.
The Kawhi to Lakers smoke is getting darker by the day. While the Clippers have long been considered the favorites to sign Leonard if he leaves the Raptors, recent tea leaves, such as Kawhi's family's IG habits, have pointed towards him joining LeBron and AD. Imagine trying to score on a frontcourt made up of Bron, Kawhi, and AD. Good luck.
There hasn't been a ton of Jimmy Butler free agency rumors out there yet, but would anyone be surprised if he ended up on the Lakers?The fit next to LeBron and AD would be interesting, but adding Jimmy to that squad in Hollywood would at least be hilarious, if nothing else.
While Kemba Walker recently stated he would take less money to help the Charlotte Hornets get better, I'm not sure I totally buy that. Kemba shouldn't take less than the max, and if the Lakers are willing to give it to him, this would be a fun fit.
As we move away from potential max guys, we land on Patrick Beverley, who would be an awesome fit on this Lakers team. He not only would be an upgrade over Rajon Rondo, but he'd provide some needed toughness to the squad. Even if the Lakers add a max player, they should do whatever they can to land Pat Bev.
It's time to bring Ariza home. It's unclear how much money Ariza would command in free agency this summer, but this fit seems almost too perfect. I'd almost be shocked if this didn't happen in July.
Word out of Utah is that the Jazz are letting Ricky Rubio walk in free agency, which means the Lakers should definitely take a look at signing him. While you need shooters around LeBron, Rubio is the type of point guard who would thrive next to Bron and AD.
One of the biggest flaws about the Lakers of last season was that they had no shooting. It was embarrassing. Well, adding a shooter like JJ Redick would surely fix things going forward. Will be interesting to see how much money Redick is looking to get in free agency, but he should be a high target on the Lakers board.
If you don't follow the NBA closely, you probably didn't know that Terrence Ross had a really good year last season. He's a premium scorer and would fit in great off the Lakers bench.
Everyone is focused on Leonard's potential free agency, but what about Danny Green? He's due to test the waters and if Kawhi does leave, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Green bolt as well. This would be a no brainer for the Lakers.
Let's reunite JR and LeBron. It only feels right. Swish is about to get traded from the Cavs and then will get waived shortly after that. I wish I could bet on the likelihood of this happening in Vegas because I think it's a near lock.