The Los Angeles Lakers have already made the biggest move they could make this offseason by successfully trading for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Now, the team must begin the quest to fill out the remainder of the roster for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Once the trade becomes official, the Lakers will have just five players on the roster: Davis, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Moritz Wagner, and Isaac Bonga. The Lakers do have plenty of salary cap space and how they decide to use that will be closely watched.
The team has already been linked to big names in free agency such as Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler. However, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Lakers are also discussing potential role players to sign:
They also have begun discussing players expected to fetch somewhere in that $10 million-plus range, sources say.
Marcus Morris has already been linked to the Lakers while rumblings on Patrick Beverley are starting to pick up as well. JJ Redick, Seth Curry, and Danny Green will also be available.
The Lakers also have some possible returning players with the likes of JaVale McGee, Reggie Bullock, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Rajon Rondo all likely to be considered.
What route the Lakers ultimately decide to go could depend on when the Davis trade becomes official. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN pointed out, the Lakers will have significantly more cap space if they can push the deal back to July 30:
If the Pelicans and Lakers had waited until July 30 to complete the trade, the Lakers could’ve had $32.5 million in cap space — enough to pursue a max-contract-level free agent. By waiting until July 30, Los Angeles would’ve been acting like a team over the cap and thus would be allowed to use the fourth overall pick in Thursday’s draft as salary. If the trade is finalized on July 6, that number shrinks to $27.7 million — a number lowered to $23.7 million with Davis’ trade kicker.
What seems most likely is that lowest number. The Pelicans reportedly prefer that to be the date and it is difficult to envision any player giving up $4 million — even if it would help the team overall.
Should that turn out to be the case, the Lakers may be forced to go the role player route as the likes of Walker, Butler, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard would not sign for that level of money. With such a small roster, it may benefit the Lakers more to find 3-4 solid role players who can shoot and defend to round out the rest of the roster.