For the first time in years, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely free have cap next summer – with L.A. hoping to lure in one of the NBA stars during the 2023 offseason.
This year, the Lakers have shown a serious interest in Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. Even though L.A. failed to trade for the 30-year-old, he could become available in next year’s free agency when the Purple and Gold are projected to have about $30 million in free cap space.
And the Lakers might end up with even more money to offer Irving or other NBA stars than previously thought. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the 2023-24 salary cap is projected to be $134 million, $1 million more than previous estimates:
The NBA has informed teams that the 2023-24 salary cap is currently projected to be $134 million ($10.4M higher than this season), with $162M tax level, per sources. Both are $1M higher than previous projections.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2022
L.A. currently has four players contracted for 2023-24 — including Damian Jones, who has a player option for the season. It’s been widely reported the Lakers have been unwilling to take on long-term contracts to preserve their 2023 cap space, playing a major part in their failure to trade Russell Westbrook away this summer.
Irving won’t be the only intriguing NBA star who might end up on the market next year. Milwaukee Bucks sharpshooter Khris Middleton, Philadelphia 76ers star guard James Harden, and Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis could all hit free agency in 2023 if they decline their player option for 2023-24.
Other members of the free agency class of 2023 include Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Russell Westbrook.
Lakers to compete for Jazz’s Bojan Bogdanovic with numerous NBA teams
The Lakers are now expected to begin the 2022-23 season with Westbrook on the roster. However, there’s still a slight possibility they will come to an agreement with the Utah Jazz and trade the 2017 NBA MVP to Utah.
L.A. is reportedly showing interest in Jazz sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, whose contract expires next summer. But many other teams are believed to be pursuing the Croatian forward — including the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Jazz demand two first-round picks to get the deal done, which the Lakers deem too high a price. The Purple and Gold have reportedly considered offering a pick swap in addition to their 2027 first-rounder, but that is understood to not be enough to entice Utah.
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