The excitement of the upcoming NBA draft, and the start of the free agency period (along with all of the ‘dream scenarios’ it triggers), make it easy for many to forget the salary cap restrictions placed on teams in the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). While it makes for great debate to discuss the possibilities of what the Los Angeles Lakers can do before Thursday’s draft, many of those possibilities are not only far-fetched, but quite complicated, if not impossible, to work out.
Rumors such as the Philadelphia 76ers trading Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young to L.A. for the 7th overall pick and Steve Nash, sound excellent to Lakers fans. Klay Thompson to Los Angeles for the seventh overall pick in a three-way deal that will send Kevin Love to the Golden State Warriors sounds equally delicious to Lakers fans to drool over. However, no matter what trade scenarios are dreamt up for the Lakers to partake in, very few realize the glaring problem with the Lakers attempting to trading the seventh overall pick…
The Lakers do not own a 2015 first round pick. Thus, the problem with the Lakers trading the seventh pick is, simply, the Lakers can’t. Per the CBA, NBA teams cannot deal future first round picks in consecutive years. And, the Lakers owe their 2015 first round pick to the Phoenix Suns as part of the Steve Nash deal.
Still with me? Because I have more bad news.
As the eyes on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony opting out and landing in LA grow larger and more lustful, Steve Nash has become prime trade bait. Small issue, though: the Lakers would have to pay Steve Nash a 15% raise in the event he’s dealt to another franchise. So while we’re all shipping Nash away for whatever superstar player we can find, Nash’s salary would increase to $11.2 million–even if it is an expiring contract. For a guy who’s 40 and had the roughest of times staying on the court healthy, Nash’s trade value definitely doesn’t appear exactly desirable.
No matter what, any trade the Lakers consider making before the NBA draft cannot take place legally until after their draft selection has been made. However, in the unlikely event the Lakers deal their first round pick and RECEIVE a 2014 first round pick as well, the Lakers can make any deal they see fit.
The odds heavily favor the Lakers HAVING to make a draft selection at the seventh spot, and only then can trade the draft rights of that player to another team in order to boost their roster.