Shortly after the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, much of the attention was on them perhaps overlooking the July 6 timing.
Based on this date instead of July 30, the Lakers would no longer have a max-contract slot available for free agency.
As there were conflicting reports, the Lakers traded three prospects to the Wizards and Davis waived his $4 million trade kicker to re-establish their max-contract slot.
Prior to the start of free agency, the NBA officially announced the 2019-20 NBA salary cap, according to NBA:
The National Basketball Association announced Saturday that the Salary Cap has been set at $109.14 million for the 2019-20 season. The tax level for the 2019-20 season is $132.627 million.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for three different mid-level exceptions depending on a team’s salary level. The non-taxpayer mid-level for the 2019-20 season is $9.258 million, the taxpayer mid-level is $5.718 million, and the mid-level for a team with room under the Salary Cap is $4.767 million.
Although it is slightly higher than the initial projection, the Lakers will enter free agency slightly short of a max contract, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
The Los Angeles Lakers will currently enter free agency $587K short of the full max contract space ($32.7M). This means, unless more space is created, the Lakers can offer Kawhi Leonard or another max free agent four years, $138.3M while other teams can offer four years, $140.8M.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 30, 2019
While the Lakers are $2.5 million short over a four-year deal, the reality is any interested free agents can easily make up the difference in the second-largest sports market.
As some of the media will likely use this as a roadblock for the Lakers, they are in an advantageous position with Davis, LeBron James, and a near max-contract slot on June 30.
Although free agency has not officially started, the Lakers are getting an idea of who will be available. At this time, it appears to be Kawhi Leonard or splitting up the cap space.
Despite all of the drama that surrounded general manager Rob Pelinka in perhaps the most important offseason in team history, he has an opportunity to establish confidence within the front office as well as the fanbase now.