The Los Angeles Lakers have had quite the start to their offseason. After Kobe Bryant’s magical finale, the team replaced Byron Scott with Luke Walton as their new head coach. Their NBA Draft Lottery luck then continued, netting them the No. 2 overall pick once again.
Up next on the list of offseason tasks is the NBA Draft on June 23. While it appears likely the Lakers will end up with Brandon Ingram with that pick, Los Angeles will have to wait and see who they can get in the second round. Once the draft concludes, general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss will turn their focus to the NBA free agency period that begins July 1.
The Lakers should have more salary cap space than any team in the league. A combination of expiring contracts and an exploding salary cap due to the league’s new television deal should give the Lakers an excess of $60 million in spending money.
Initial projections showed the cap being right around $90 million for each team, but The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports that the NBA is telling teams that it will be even higher than expected.
Vertical Sources: NBA has informed its teams that the projected salary cap will rise to $94M for 2016-'17 season. Higher than expected $92M.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2016
Every team is going to have cap space this summer, but every little bit helps.
There are three tiers of max contracts that teams with sufficient cap space can offer, and each are a percentage of the total cap number based on a player’s amount of experience in the league. The lowest tier is 25 percent of the cap, with 30 percent and 35 percent being the two higher tiers.
The Lakers will have enough cap space to offer two max contracts if they so choose. Los Angeles could go on a spending spree this summer or save some cap space for next summer when the cap makes another massive increase.
Either way, the Lakers have options, and we are just a few short weeks away from seeing how they utilize them.