Going into the summer of Kevin Durant armed with around $65 million in cap space, the Lakers had their fans feeling incredibly optimistic about the free agency period this year.
While you could say that about nearly every season, people expected the team to make massive improvements especially with the youth movement slightly more proven and a shiny new head coach in Luke Walton.
The Lakers ended up with a lackluster free agency period to most fans standards, which I believe you could argue that as they did add talent to the roster.
Regardless of how you view the offseason to this point, it is worth noting that the Lakers pulled off some creative ways to use the cap space that they had going into free agency.
Salary cap genius Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders broke down some of the interesting ways the Lakers used their cap space.
Whether or not the Lakers invested wisely in Luol Deng, Jordan Clarkson and Mozgov is subjective, but the team clearly has an eye on cap room next summer.
The Lakers gave the trio of signings higher salaries for 2016-17, which then descend a year before rising again in seasons three and four. The team could have nearly $32 million in cap space next summer.
This bodes well for the franchise as the Lakers will still have a max contract they can offer next season to stellar free agent class that includes Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward, and Blake Griffin.
Another interesting move the team made was acquiring Jose Calderon and two second round picks from the Bulls in a salary dump move by Chicago in order to sign Dwyane Wade.
The team did this in 2014 with Jeremy Lin and also netted the 27th pick in the first round, which they used on Larry Nance, Jr.
But the Lakers may not be done dealing.
The team has held off on signing Tarik Black, Marcelo Huertas and second-overall pick Brandon Ingram, keeping an eye on what could be $13.6 million in cap room (assuming the team also waives and stretched Nick Young).
The Lakers do have an unnamed trade target in mind, but are also preserving space for another opportunistic Calderon-like deal.
Picking up assets in terms of draft picks is highly beneficial, especially with the team not expected to compete next season and the recent success the front office has had drafting.
All together the Lakers are undeniably in a better position than they were just a few months ago, and that is largely in part to the front office again flexing its creative muscle.
Salary cap numbers provided by Basketball Insiders.