As a minor money-saving maneuver, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Quinn Cook just before NBA free agency began over the weekend.
To start, the decision saved the Lakers $2 million, as Cook’s contract only had a $1 million guarantee. The $2 million may not seem like a huge difference, but it may matter when it comes to the hard salary cap.
After the Lakers signed Wesley Matthews using their bi-annual exception, and Montrezl Harrell joining on the full midlevel exception, they sit well over the salary cap. Using bird rights, they managed to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but are dangerously close to the $139 million hard cap set by the league.
To save every last possible dollar against this hard cap, the Lakers reportedly used the waive and stretch provision on Cook’s $1 million guaranteed money, according to Keith Smith of RealGM:
Per a league source: The Lakers waived and stretched Quinn Cook. That puts him on the books for $333,333 per year for the next three years. Creates a little more flexibility for the Lakers under the hard cap.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 21, 2020
While saving a grand total of $666,666.67 for this upcoming season doesn’t sound like anything in NBA money, it will likely be what prevents the Lakers from reaching the hard cap. With 12 rostered players — and the eventual Anthony Davis max contract — L.A. has been limited to doling out the minimum for contracts.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the Lakers clearly had a plan heading into this offseason, and that involved using every last dollar they possibly could. The result is a team that’s younger and more talented than the one that just won an NBA championship.
Marc Gasol could serve as a potential Dwight Howard replacement
Due to a miscommunication, Dwight Howard is no longer a member of the Lakers, signing a one-year, minimum contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. L.A. signed Harrell, who is one of the league’s most offensively gifted big men, but does not replace what Howard brought.
Because of this, the Lakers looked to Marc Gasol, who signed for the minimum over two years. Gasol is not only be a familiar face in L.A. due to his brother Pau’s time with the Lakers, but he can fill the gap left by Howard departing in free agency and the trade of JaVale McGee.
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