While many NBA teams have circled the draft as the best way to improve their team, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked towards free agency. The Lakers are slated to have the most cap space of any team, giving them a chance to be in play for two near-max free agents.
Free agency may be where the Lakers are investing the most resources, but the Lakers still had draft picks, including the No. 25 pick they received in a trade with the Cavs. Here’s a look at their current roster which we will be updating throughout the draft. This will obviously change after free agency, but it is helpful to see the core the Lakers are working with as they try to add marquee free agents like LeBron James.
Players in italics are free agents with the type of free agent they are in parenthesis. UFA stands for Unrestricted Free Agent, and RFA means Restricted Free Agent.
Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup 2018
C- Brook Lopez (UFA), Thomas Bryant, Channing Frye (UFA), Ivica Zubac
PF- Julius Randle (RFA), Kyle Kuzma, Travis Wear (RFA)
SF- Brandon Ingram, Luol Deng
SG- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (UFA), Andre Ingram (RFA), Josh Hart, Gary Payton II (RFA)
PG- Lonzo Ball, Isaiah Thomas (UFA), Alex Caruso, Tyler Ennis
Lakers Projected Cap Space: $58.37 Million
According to Real GM’s projections, the Lakers are slated to have $58,367,683 in cap space this summer. This puts them in play for two max players, but there is still a bit of maneuvering that needs to be done. A player’s max number depends on their experience level. According to Hoops Hype, James will make a little over $35 million if he signs a max deal. Either James would have to sign for a little less money, or the second free agent would have to sign at a discount. The third option would be for the Lakers to make another trade to clear enough cap space for both. It is going to be difficult to find a team willing to take on Luol Deng’s contract.
ESPN reported the Lakers are also in play for Kawhi Leonard, who is still under contract with the Spurs. The difference between Leonard and free agents is the Lakers would have to give up players and picks to acquire him. While Leonard may prefer to go to the Lakers, the Spurs are also not motivated to trade with the Lakers, per ESPN.
Leonard wants a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers over the Clippers, league sources said. He has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play in San Antonio and will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intention is to sign in Los Angeles when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said.
The Spurs are unlikely to be motivated to facilitate a deal to the Lakers, league sources said.
There are rumors that LeBron James Jr. is heading to high school in Sierra Canyon, but the school denied the report. It is officially the start of free agency with rumors circulating on where James’ children will go to school.
Source: Heavy Sports