The Los Angeles Lakers have made the biggest move so far this NBA offseason with their trade for New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, but they are not expected to be done just yet.
First, they need to figure out their salary cap situation, though.
If the Lakers and Pelicans finalize the Davis deal on July 6, the Lakers will have just a little more than $23 million in cap space, per CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney, which would not be enough to offer a max deal. If they wait until July 30 to finalize the trade, it would give them $32.5 million in cap space to sign another max free agent.
It is the latter scenario that had Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reporting the Lakers will pursue NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
The interest with Leonard, however, does not appear to be mutual.
The 27-year-old forward wants to be in Los Angeles, but his focus is on the Los Angeles Clippers -not the Lakers-according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Get Up @GetUpESPN
“Kawhi Leonard’s focus [is] on Los Angeles, but it’s the Clippers not the Lakers.” -@wojespn https://t.co/AbOpm0aJ0E
There is also still the possibility of a LeBron James- Kyrie Irving reunion.
Despite reports of Irving leaning toward joining the Brooklyn Nets, Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote that sources close to James expressed optimism in signing Irving just days before the Davis deal. Irving and James had a sour relationship together in Cleveland, but the two had reconciled back in January.
If not Irving, perhaps Kemba Walker will be the one the Lakers pursue.
Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, Walker will be a top target for the Lakers in free agency.
Walker will be difficult to sign, too. The Charlotte Hornets have the ability to offer the 29-year-old guard a super max contract worth five years, $221 million, which only they can do.
The best the Lakers can offer Walker is four years, $140 million-a significant difference-although the addition of Davis with James could entice him to take less money to play for a winner.
Walker has even said he would take less money, albeit to stay in Charlotte.
Regardless of the challenges the Lakers face to sign one of these free agents, the addition of Davis has at the very least put the Lakers into the heart of the free agency discussion and has added another level of intrigue this summer.