The NBA free agency period doesn’t begin until July 1st, but rumors are already popping up about what the Los Angeles Lakers will do. With Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka now in charge of the front office, no one is completely sure what their plan will be moving forward, but the latest rumor has the Miami Heat concerned that Los Angeles will make a big offer to free agent shooting guard Dion Waiters.
In particular, the Heat are worried about an offer coming in because Pelinka is Waiters’ former agent. However, those concerns were somewhat alleviated by Johnson’s recent comments about preserving cap space for the summer of 2018, as reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Though there had been some concern that Dion Waiters’ former agent, new Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, might make a big offer for Waiters this summer, Lakers executive Magic Johnson – whose team has $23 million in cap space – told reporters: “I’m really looking to keep the cap space that we have and really try to play in next year’s free agent class, and not really this free agent class.”
The Heat wants to keep Waiters but doesn’t want to overpay.
Waiters signed a deal with Miami last summer at below market value after the Oklahoma City Thunder elected to make him a free agent. With his career at a cross road, Waiters had his best season yet, averaging 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 40 percent from three.
While Waiters is certainly talented, he would be a questionable fit for the Lakers, who already have young guards in D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson filling his role, and Waiters is all but certain to receive a hefty pay increase this summer. If the Lakers hope to preserve cap room for the summer of 2018, when Paul George becomes a free agent, then a guard like Waiters is a luxury they can’t afford.