The Lakers would have benefited by waiting longer, but it appears their deal with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis will be completed when the moratorium ends July 6, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He adds that there’s still a chance it won’t be finalized until July 30, which would enable L.A. to operate over the cap and count its No. 4 pick, which is headed to New Orleans, as salary. As Wojnarowski explains in a full story, the Lakers would have $32.5MM in cap room to chase free agents under that scenario, but only $27.8MM if the trade becomes official earlier.
That figure would be reduced even further if Davis insists on a $4MM trade kicker, which he has the option to waive. Accepting it would leave L.A. with just $23.8MM, not nearly enough to compete for an elite free agent. Wojnarowski notes that delaying the deal wouldn’t benefit the Pelicans, who would have $19MM in cap space if the trade becomes official July 6, but only $15MM if they have to wait until July 30.
There’s more Lakers news to pass along:
- The Pelicans wanted Kyle Kuzma to be included in the deal, but the Lakers opted to part with future first-round picks so they could keep him, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Kuzma, who posted an 18.7/5.5/2.5 line in his second NBA season, was among the players rumored to be on the table when the teams negotiated in February.
- Lakers GM Rob Pelinka had to make four phone calls yesterday before Pelicans executive David Griffin responded, Turner tweets. Pelinka’s willingness to include three first-round picks turned out to be too enticing for New Orleans to pass up.
- The Lakers’ last attempt to combine two stars failed because of a personality conflict between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but Ben Golliver of The Washington Post doesn’t believe that will happen this time. Davis already has a good relationship with LeBron James, appearing on his HBO show “The Shop,” and James has an added incentive to make the partnership work because they share the same agent in Rich Paul.
- The Lakers will be seeking low-cost veterans to round out their roster, which might be good news for Reggie Bullock, observes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Bullock, who was acquired from the Pistons at the trade deadline, has a cap hold of just $4.8MM. L.A. holds his full Bird rights and can exceed the cap to re-sign him.
- If the Lakers don’t land a third star in free agency, they will likely pursue another shooter such as J.J. Redick, Seth Curry or Bojan Bogdanovic, suggests Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.