The Lakers landed Anthony Davis but it looked like they wouldn’t have the cap room to sign another max free agent. As always, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The Lakers pursuit of Anthony Davis took longer than they were hoping but just before the draft they were finally able to land their prize. It wasn’t exactly a happy ending though as the deal left them without the cap space to pursue another max free agent, something the Lakers reportedly forgot about as they were negotiating the deal.
However, the Lakers have done some wrangling and found a way to create the space. First, the convinced Anthony Davis to waive his $4 million trade-kicker (maybe it helped that LeBron agreed to give up No. 23 so Davis could wear it). Then, they coaxed the Washington Wizards into taking on Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones. In return, the Lakers will send the Wizards a future second-round pick and this will give them $32 million in cap space, enough for a max contract offer. Because the Anthony Davis trade can’t actually be completed until July 6, this is technically adding the Wizards into the original Davis deal with the Pelicans, rolling it into one giant transaction.
Just minuted after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the trade news, Yahoo!’s Chris Haynes reported that Kawhi Leonard will take meetings with both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Lakers when free agency opens. Woj followed up by reporting that Leonard will also take a meeting with the Raptors, giving them the chance to make a final pitch after he’s heard from all the other suitors.
A Lakers roster built around Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and a slew of minimum contracts will have a lot of question marks. Add Leonard to the mix and they would easily become the title favorites.