The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be a part of the 2019 California Classic held in Sacramento and in their first of three games, they’ll take on the Miami Heat without the services of the No. 46 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Talen Horton-Tucker.
Unlike the past few years, the team’s Summer League roster won’t be consisting of any players select in the recent draft. The Lakers had the No. 4 pick, but traded it to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
Instead, the roster will consist almost entirely of undrafted free agents and G League players. On the undrafted front, the Lakers enlisted the services of players like Zach Norvell, Jordan Caroline, Conner Frankamp, and Nick Perkins.
From the G League, they brought on players from the South Bay Lakers like Marcus Allen and Jeffrey Carroll. While in most cases, a contending team wouldn’t care about the success of their Summer League team, the Lakers are in a unique situation.
If the Lakers are able to sign Kawhi Leonard, they’ll have no more cap space with which to sign players, meaning the room exception and minimum deals will take up 10 roster spots. This could mean some players from this Summer League team may see time with the Lakers for the 2019-20 NBA season should they need players.
Even if the Lakers don’t sign Leonard, they’ll have just $32 million to fill 11 spots, which would mean the same logic may apply.
The Heat, on the other hand, have made several roster moves that may render their Summer League team completely ineffective. On the first day of free agency, the Heat agreed to a massive sign-and-trade deal for Jimmy Butler on a four-year, $142 million deal.
This means the only Heat Summer League players that could make the roster are Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala. The Heat are also hard-capped for the upcoming season, which means contracts may be hard to come by.
Beyond this game, the Lakers will play two more games in Sacramento before heading to the Las Vegas Summer League. The Lakers will play on Friday and Saturday, meaning the Heat game is the first of five games in six nights for the young team. Hopefully, the Lakers can find some gems to sign to minimum deals for the upcoming season.