Two massive stars headline the latest Los Angeles Lakers rumors and both can realistically end up in the purple and gold.
Things are heating up for the Los Angeles Lakers as the Lakers rumors have dominated the landscape of the NBA the last several days. It appears as if the Lakers could be potentially adding two more superstars alongside LeBron James.
The most prevalent Lakers rumors are obviously surrounding Anthony Davis. Davis’ agent Rich Paul (the same agent of LeBron James) informed the New Orleans Pelicans that Davis would not be signing the super-max extension and would instead like to be traded.
Could that lead to a trade before the 2019 deadline? Potentially. However, the Pelicans have time to work with as Davis does have an entire year under contract still before he can first opt out with his player option.
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However, as time passes and Davis makes it clear that he will only sign an extension where he deems fit (which seems to be the Lakers) other teams will drop out and the Lakers’ price will be lower.
So is there a chance we could see Davis in purple and gold in February? Absolutely.
The other star that has taken up the Lakers rumors is Kyrie Irving. Rumblings of Irving ever becoming a Laker started a few weeks back when he revealed he called LeBron James and apologized for his ignorance of how hard it was to lead a title contending team.
That seemed to be all of that story until Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report reported that Irving’s interest in reuniting with LeBron James was a real thing. Interest is one thing; will it, and more importantly can it, ever happen?
Surely the Los Angeles Lakers cannot add both Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving, right? Well, they can.
Right now the Los Angeles Lakers are looking at $41.7 million in practical cap space this offseason. That would be enough to sign one of the two stars to a max contract and have a little bit extra in the bank.
How much that figure moves depends on how much the Lakers end up sending for Anthony Davis. For simplicities sake, as the Lakers can go any direction and this trade is complicated with how much they would actually spend, let’s say the team deals Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
KCP is on an expiring deal but the young trio is set to make just under $17 million next season, almost exactly $10 million fewer than the $27.1 million that Davis will make.
Since we love round numbers let’s just say it is $10 million, although we are giving ourselves more wiggle room that way. That moves the cap figure from $41.7 million to $31.7 million. Los Angeles can even throw rookie Moritz Wagner into the deal to add another $2 million of cap space for next offseason.
So, even with Davis, the Lakers would be looking at around $33.7 million in practical cap space. While that means that Irving cannot sign a max deal, it does mean the star point guard can make, let’s say, $32 million a year.
That would make him the fourth-highest paid point guard on the league on top of the massive amount of external opportunities that would be presented to him in Los Angeles.
Then when it comes time to extend Davis the Los Angeles Lakers can utilize the Bird Rights acquired via trade and the superstar trio is locked down. The cap does become a bit of an issue but the team can rely on the draft in 2019 to fill out a role player (with the 2020 pick likely going to New Orleans) as well as guys on veteran minimums.
The team would still have Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk alongside the big three. Signing three veterans and drafting a decent backup point guard should not be extremely hard for the Lakers to do.
If these Lakers rumors mean anything, and you bet they do, then we might be seeing a team that can not only top the Golden State Warriors but can blow their achievements out of the water.