While fans nervously await the front office’s decision on head coach Byron Scott, some developments are still taking shape for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Much like the previous two seasons, the roster this year was filled with expiring contracts in an effort to hit the free agent market with an abundance of salary cap space. Only six players are under contract for the 2016-17 season, with another four becoming restricted free agents this summer if the Lakers extend qualifying offers to each player. This essentially gives the team control on whether they want Jordan Clarkson, Marcelo Huertas, Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly back on the roster next season.
One contract they do not have control over was that of Brandon Bass. The soon-to-be 31-year-old has a $3.1 million player option on his deal this summer, meaning he can opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent in July. According to Chris Haynes from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that’s exactly what Bass intends to do.
Lakers F Brandon Bass to decline 2016-17 player option, become unrestricted free agent this summer, league source informs @clevelanddotcom.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) April 20, 2016
Bass’ decision is not surprising in the very least. Power forward is a position that the Lakers appear to be set at for a very long time with Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. showing a lot of promise. Additionally, the salary cap is expected to increase by about $22 million this summer, which will allow players to make more money if they are on the market for a new contract.
Bass did a solid job for the Lakers this year, considering the circumstances. He played out of position for a large portion of the season, but gave the team quality minutes on most nights. A team contending for a playoff spot and more next season could certainly benefit from the veteran’s services.
As for the Lakers, this opens up another roster spot and an additional $3.1 million in cap space this summer, giving them a little bit more to work with. Depending on the final cap number set this summer, Los Angeles could have over $60 million to spend in free agency.
I think a lot of people appreciated Bass’ efforts this season, but this is a move that is best for both him and the Lakers moving forward.