In the eyes of the public, the judgment of the Los Angeles Lakers and general manager Rob Pelinka has come into question to start the 2019 NBA offseason.
Though the Anthony Davis trade is set to be completed on July 6, it potentially cost them a max-contract slot leading many to suggest the Lakers were unaware as to how it would impact their salary cap.
The Lakers reportedly were scrambling to try and get the deal pushed back to July 30 in order to ensure a max-contract slot and there were also reports they were constantly trying to fix the trade and find a third team to take on their extra contracts to clear the necessary cap space. Now, the story seems to be changing at least somewhat.
According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, the Lakers are confident they can get close to that max-contract slot if they get a commitment from an All-Star player:
Much of last week was occupied by analysts questioning whether Pelinka, in his zeal to complete the Davis deal, had overlooked certain nuances of the salary cap and made it more difficult to create space for another max player. But sources said the Lakers remain confident they can get close enough to the roughly $32 million needed to sign a player like Irving or Kemba Walker to a max deal — by dumping the contracts of Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones — if they get a commitment from a top-tier player.
With free agency getting started a week before the Davis trade becomes official, the Lakers will almost definitely know whether or not they have a commitment from one of those All-Star players like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, or Kemba Walker. At the very least, they will know where they stand on the lists of these players and then act accordingly.
There have been plenty of times when a team agrees to a deal with a player before having the actual room to sign them, but are able to clear out the room by incentivizing teams to take on their extra contracts. The Lakers are set to do the same should they land one of those targets.
If they don’t, they will still have a good amount of money to go after some solid role players to fill out the rest of the roster. With Davis and LeBron James already locked in, adding the right supporting cast could be all the Lakers need to get back in championship contention and owner Jeanie Buss has complete confidence in Pelinka to pull it all off.