While everyone awaits major free agency news, the Los Angeles Lakers are taking care of business elsewhere. On Sunday, the team announced the signings of rookies Moritz Wagner and Malik Newman.
Wagner was selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Newman was signed as an undrafted free agent shortly after the conclusion of the draft. He was signed to a two-way contract meaning the former Kansas Jayhawk will alternate playing time between the Lakers and their G-League affiliate, with only 45 maximum available days in the NBA.
Last year, the Lakers used their two two-way contract slots with some success. Alex Caruso emerged as a viable backup point guard option while the other slot was was used for more raw talents like Vander Blue and Gary Payton II.
The timing of the Lakers’ decision to sign these two rookies is insignificant. Wagner’s cap hold as a draft pick was already the maximum 120 percent contract designated for his draft slot, which is likely the amount the Lakers have signed him to. Newman’s contract does not count against the salary cap.
It’s unlikely that second round draft picks Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Isaac Bonga will be signed soon as the Lakers are maximizing available cap space in order to sign star free agents like LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard.
Exact terms for Wagner’s contract have not been released but it is likely that he was signed to the 120% max for his draft slot, earning him a four-year contract at a first-year salary of just over 1.5 million dollars.
The two players cannot be included in trades for 30 days.