The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to add a star this summer but might walk away with two if the front office can play their cards right.
The narrative surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers for the last two years has been the team’s desire to add two superstars to the roster in order to change the tide of the franchise back to its winning ways.
Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the worst stretch in franchise history, missing the postseason six years in a row. That is more missed playoff appearances than the franchise had in its entire history leading up to the current run.
While most realistic fans did not expect an NBA Title this season, many were at least expecting to end that playoff drought with the arrival of LeBron James. However, James got hurt and it felt like everything else went wrong for the Lakers, who missed out on the playoffs.
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Now, the front office is forced into a corner and has to bring in a superstar. That means even if they whiff on marquee names, the front office is going to have to make some sort of move just to bring in a star.
The more promising stars that Laker fans are hoping for are Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal. In particular, Irving and Beal have jumped out in recent weeks as the most likely additions for the Los Angeles Lakers.
This has some fans debating on who the Lakers should pursue. Should the team sign Irving to reunite him with LeBron or should the team trade assets to secure Beal?
Here is the catch: the Los Angeles Lakers can do both.
It would take Kyrie Irving accepting a small pay cut in order to do this but it would not be a substantial cut and certainly would mimic past stars who have done this in order to bring in another star.
The package that we are going to hypothetically send to the Washington Wizards has to include both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to make this work. It might seem like a lot, but both Irving and Beal are upgrades from those two and are young still, so it would not be significantly hurting the team in the long-term.
The trade would be something along the lines of Ball, Ingram, the fourth overall pick and Moritz Wagner for Bradley Beal. Maybe the Lakers can get a pick swap for the future to ensure that they get some draft value in return, or perhaps they can swap picks this year.
Either way, the core three of Ball Ingram and Wagner have a combined cap hit slightly over $18 million. We will round down to $18 million. Bradley Beal has a cap hit of $25.4 million next season, meaning the Los Angeles Lakers are adding just $7.4 million in payroll to the cap.
Now after some basic math based on the remaining Lakers’ salaries and the $109 million cap allocations, the Lakers would have around $34.3 million in cap space remaining.
Kyrie can either take a deal in the $33 million range or could sign something around $30 million, leaving the Lakers $4.3 million to sign a free agent that is not on a veteran minimum. With the veteran minimum not affecting the cap, the Lakers can then go over and fill out a roster.
Heck, or the Lakers could just not include Wagner in the deal and keep him in the rotation instead. Either way works.
On the bench, the Lakers would have Josh Hart, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, whoever the team brings in for that extra $4 million (or Wagner) and another veteran minimum guy. The depth could use some work, sure, but that starting five certainly is worthy of winning a title.