One of the first moves by the Los Angeles Lakers in what became a very busy stretch of days was to waive Quinn Cook, bringing his $3 million salary down to just $1 million guaranteed.
With L.A. triggering the hard cap via the bi-annual exception given to Wesley Matthews, they were reported as using the waive-and-stretch provision on the $1 million. Instead of paying the full amount this season, they would owe Cook $333,333 each of the next three seasons.
That was seen as having saved the Lakers $666,667 towards the hard cap. Following this decision, the Lakers were able to trade JaVale McGee and waive one of the two players they received in exchange, Jordan Bell.
Because of that move, L.A. no longer needs to stretch the remaining $1 million on Cook’s deal, meaning they will pay it all this season, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports:
As part of their roster moves, the Los Angeles Lakers reversed course and did not end up stretching Quinn Cook's salary. Because of the JaVale McGee trade and subsequent waiver of Jordan Bell, LA was able to take the full hit for Cook at $1M for the 2020-21 season.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 27, 2020
While this move is not of major significance, it does completely remove Cook’s salary from the books after the 2020-21 season. As it stands, the Lakers are already paying Luol Deng $5 million per year for another two seasons, and having more dead money would have been unnecessary.
This also has no effect on the team’s ability to afford players this season. With a max slot essentially promised to Anthony Davis, the Lakers will be able to hand out two more veteran minimum deals before reaching the hard cap. This puts them at 14 players on the roster.
However, they would not have been able to reach 15 even with Cook’s salary stretched. If it’s not going to help in the short term anyways, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka likely felt it was best to just get the full $1 million over with now.
LeBron James bids farewell to Cook on social media
While Cook did not play a whole lot during the 2019-20 season, he was a fan and team favorite. Cook was one of the glue guys of the locker room and was often involved when players would hang out off the court.
James took to Twitter following the announcement of Cook being waived to say that the Lakers could not have won the championship without him.
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