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SportLakers free agent targets: What are LA's next moves following Anthony Davis trade?

21:05  18 june  2019
21:05  18 june  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Lakers free agent targets: What are LA's next moves following Anthony Davis trade? © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

As hard as it was for the Lakers to pry Anthony Davis away from the Pelicans, the next step in the roster-building process might be even more difficult.

After acquiring Davis in a blockbuster trade Saturday, Los Angeles will have two of the top 10 players in the NBA — but not much else. Once the Davis trade is finalized, the Lakers will barely be able to put a starting five together, and the group isn't all that inspiring beyond Davis and LeBron James.

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Lakers players under contract 2019-20 salary Career games
LeBron James $37.4 million 1,198
Anthony Davis $27.1 million 466
Kyle Kuzma $2.0 million 147
Moritz Wagner $2.0 million 43
Isaac Bonga $1.4 million 22

Obviously the Lakers will add other players in free agency, but just how good can this team be in 2019-20? It will depend on the timing of the Davis trade.

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Here's where it gets a little tricky: If the Lakers and Pelicans wait until July 30 to make the Davis deal official, Los Angeles will have about $32.5 million in cap space to use in free agency, close enough to realistically offer a max deal to a star free agent with less than 10 years of NBA experience. However, if the trade becomes official on July 6 when the free-agency moratorium ends, the cap space left will be around $27 million-$28 million if Davis waives his trade bonus, or $23 million-$24 million if he keeps it.

The Lakers are "operating on both fronts," according to ESPN's Zach Lowe, so we will do the same here and throw out a few possibilities for LA general manager Rob Pelinka. (Keep in mind the max players below would only sign in the $32.5 million scenario, unless they are open to a smaller salary.)

Lakers free agent targets: The max players

Jimmy Butler: The 76ers star is expected to decline his $19.8 million player option, paving his way to a max contract. Butler would give the Lakers another primary ball handler and scorer offensively, plus some much-needed perimeter defense and toughness.

Kawhi Leonard: He's on this list because, sure, the Lakers want him. But it's not happening. Leonard's decision will come down to the Raptors and Clippers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who says it's "not even certain" Leonard would consider meeting with the Lakers.

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Kemba Walker: Now off one of the best value contracts in the league, Walker could sign a massive five-year, $221 million deal with the Hornets this summer. If he's searching for a shot at a title, though, he would be an ideal fit at point guard next to James and Davis.

Kyrie Irving: Reunion time! If anyone knows how to succeed as part of a drama-filled, James-led team, it's Irving. A new "Big Three" with Davis instead of Kevin Love is intriguing, but Irving may already be on his way to Brooklyn.

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Lakers free agent targets: Middle of the road

Bojan Bogdanovic: The 30-year-old forward is coming off a season in which he averaged 18.0 points on 49.7 percent shooting (42.5 percent on 3-pointers) in 81 games. His salary would fall in the $16 million-$18 million range, eating up a fair amount of space. Still, he'd be a big shooter to space the floor, creating lanes to the basket for James and Davis.

Danny Green: A two-time NBA champion, Green is the definition of 3-and-D on the wing. He shot 45.5 percent from deep for the Raptors during the 2018-19 season. The Lakers are probably looking at a $10 million-$12 million commitment here.

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Darren Collison: He's not nearly on the same level as Irving or Walker, but Collison is a solid veteran who does his job. Maybe $8 million-$10 million for his services.

DeMarcus Cousins: It's possible Cousins simply chases the highest offer in free agency following an injury-plagued year. If he wants to proceed with a one-year deal similar to what he signed with the Warriors last summer, Los Angeles could be an option. After all, James has expressed interest in playing with Cousins before.

Derrick Favors: While Rudy Gobert (understandably) receives all of the frontcourt love in Utah, Favors has been a strong presence on both ends of the floor. The Jazz hold a team option on the final year of his contract worth $16 million, but should they let him go, don't be surprised if the Lakers give him a call.

Jeremy Lamb: The former UConn star quietly had the best season of his career in 2018-19, averaging 15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He is due for a raise after making just less than $7.5 million, but he should be within the Lakers' price range.

JJ Redick: If the Cavs and Heat years taught us anything, it's that LeBron thrives with shooting around him. Insert Redick, a career 41.3 percent 3-point shooter capable of hitting contested shots at impossible angles. Somewhere around $12 million-$14 million seems appropriate.

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Malcolm Brogdon: This could be a reach. Brogdon scored 15.6 points per game on 50.5/42.6/92.8 shooting splits in 2018-19, and he is also a versatile defender. Brogdon is a restricted free agent, so a pricey offer sheet might not be worth the trouble of waiting to see if the Bucks match during the early days of free agency.

Marcus Morris: One of the rare bright spots for the Celtics, Morris averaged 13.9 points and shot 37.5 percent on more than five 3-point attempts per game last season. A forward with the ability to stretch the floor and defend multiple positions would be extremely valuable for the Lakers.

Nikola Mirotic: Another stretch-4 on the market, though he can be streaky at times. He could fall into that $10 million-$12 million area after making $12.5 million with the Bucks last season.

Patrick Beverley: At the very least, Beverley would save on moving costs after playing a key role on a scrappy Clippers squad. Beverley is known for his defensive tenacity, but he is also a 38.0 percent 3-point shooter for his career, including 39.7 percent in 2018-19. That's the kind of guy the Lakers would love to add.

Paul Millsap: The 34-year-old forward is on Denver's books for $30 million next season, but it is a team option. Assuming the Nuggets decline that, would Millsap put a chance at a ring above money? Similar to Bogdanovic, Millsap could be too expensive considering his age and the need for guards.

Terrence Ross: Back in December, the Lakers launched a search for depth, and Ross was among their targets. He averaged a career-high 15.1 points per game off the bench in Orlando and shot 38.3 percent from beyond the arc. It would certainly help to have a bucket-getter outside of James and Davis.

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Trevor Ariza: He has history with the Lakers, but are Ariza's best days behind him? The soon-to-be 34-year-old could work as a cheap veteran, but LA's front office can't overpay him.

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Austin Rivers: Yes, we've all laughed at Blake Griffin's impression of Rivers, but he's a good backup point guard who only made a little more than $1.1 million last season.

Carmelo Anthony: Do you really believe this couldn't happen? Be honest. With all of the wild stories that have emerged about the Lakers over the past 12 months, would this really be a shock?

Joakim Noah: James and Noah have, well, let's call it a history. Harsh words may have been thrown back and forth in the past, but Noah shouldn't be immediately crossed off the list. He peformed fairly well in 42 games for the Grizzlies last season considering his long break from basketball.

Justin Holiday: He is a 6-6 wing who has shot around 35 percent from the 3-point line for his career. Not a flashy signing, but the kind of player James could elevate.

Rajon Rondo: James has always respected Rondo's basketball acumen, and Rondo played with Davis in New Orleans, helping guide the Pelicans to a stunning first-round sweep of the Trail Blazers in 2018. He is interested in returning to the Lakers, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will re-sign him.

Reggie Bullock: He didn't set the world on fire after being traded to the Lakers at the February deadline, but he has a cap hold of just $4.8 million. LA possesses his full Bird rights, so the front office can exceed the cap in order to keep him.

Seth Curry: It turns out a guy with Curry on the back of his jersey can shoot. Go figure. The 28-year-old hit 45.0 percent of his 3-pointers last season for the Trail Blazers. His catch-and-shoot opportunites would explode with James and Davis drawing the attention of opposing defenses.

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