Just in: the Lakers have traded Isaac Bonga, Mo Wagner and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards. Also just in: Anthony Davis has waived his 4 million dollar trade kicker.
What does this all mean? First we need to travel back in time. A few weeks ago, the Lakers revealed that they intended to trade Bonga, Jones and Wagner in order to clear up cap space in pursuit of a max free agent. It was also revealed that they would only be traded if the Lakers received a promise from a max free agent. Well, now they’re gone, so does this mean LA has a max free agent on the way? To add onto this, Anthony Davis declining his 4 million dollar trade incentive just minutes after the trade in order to clear up an extra 4 million on the Lakers cap space, hints yet again that the Lakers know something we don’t.
With this trade, and the Anthony Davis trade incentive being waived, the Lakers now have 32 million dollars to sign yet another max player in free agency. While this move all but confirms the fact that the Lakers have a promise from a max contract free agent, the next question we need to ask ourselves is… who’s that free agent?
One of the names that comes to mind in Kyrie Irving. With the news that Kemba Walker will be signing with Boston, Kyrie is going to be actively testing the market. Irving may be looking to reunite with Lebron, and helping the new super squad Lakers reach the championship. Another rival name is D’Angelo Russell, who’s a name that has come up recently in free agency talks. Russell famously mentioned Lebron and AD as his dream teammates in an early career interview. Another possibility is Klay Thompson, who is sidelined with a torn ACL at the moment, but will surely be a name that the Lakers could have received a promise from. There are also less likely names like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant who could be on the way to Los Angeles, however it seems that both of these stars have narrowed down their options, with the Lakers looking like an unlikely choice. They both have meetings with the Lakers scheduled, however many people around the league believe Leonard will choose between the Clippers and Raptors, and Durant between the Knicks and Warriors.
The Lakers only have three players on their roster (Lebron, AD and Kuz), the addition of a guard such as Kyrie, DLo or Klay seems very likely. With this, the Lakers will be able to sign more players using the minimum exception rule; which allows LA to sign players at a minimum deal in order to fill their roster. The Lakers roster is looking like a star stacked super team, and now with the news that they’ve opened another max slot (something they said they would only do if they received a promise from a max free agents), the Lakers are looking at a championship season.
Lakers fans might not want to get too excited, while a max free agent could be on the way, there’s also the potential that LA could be signing a group of solid 8-10 million dollar range players that will be able to provide the Lakers with some backup. The possibility of a max free agent seems much more likely of the two.