The Los Angeles Lakers could be tight on cap space as they try to fill out their roster following the acquisition of Anthony Davis.
The All-Star center is not only under contract for $27 million in 2019-20, but he can also receive a trade kicker worth $4 million after being dealt from the New Orleans Pelicans, per Spotrac. Although he could waive the fee and give the team more money to spend, that doesn’t seem likely.
“My understanding is he doesn’t intend to waive that,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said Monday on The Jump. “He’s due the $4 million and he’s going to keep it.”
However, she did also note that “things could change” in this situation.
This fee and the timing of the trade could play a significant role in the Lakers’ remaining offseason plans. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN showed what the deal will likely do to the team’s cap space:
Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
For now, expectation is Anthony Davis trade will be completed on July 6, league sources tell @BobbyMarks42 and me. Assuming Davis declines to void $4M trade bonus, this leaves Lakers with $23.7M in space. There is chance that could be amended to July 30, but it’s still 6th now.
Per Wojnarowski, the team would have $32.5 million worth of cap space-enough to add a max free agent-if the trade doesn’t take place until July 30.
There are several big names that will be available in free agency this summer, including Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, and the Lakers know that any one of them could help bring home a championship. However, they might not be able to afford a player of this caliber with Davis and LeBron James already under contract.
Davis waiving the fee would at least bring the team closer to the max space and could be enough to convince another superstar to come compete for a title.
On the other hand, keeping the center paid and happy could be key in convincing him to sign a long-term deal with the team.
Still, there are a lot of spots to fill with only five players currently under contract for the Lakers following the trade. With limited funds, the organization might be forced to look at players who can be signed for the veteran minimum.