After the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis on Saturday, speculation immediately arose about their plans to build a super team with another star acquisition in free agency. However, it appears as though that will not be possible due to the timing of the trade.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the trade will be finalized on July 6th meaning the Lakers cannot sign the 4th overall pick before sending him to New Orleans. As a result, they will have to take some of Davis’ contract into their cap space rather than matching salaries.
Woj reports that the deal could still be amended to wait until July 30th to finalize it. That would likely hinge on Lakers’ intel about whether or not they can sign a max player – something they could learn quickly as free agency opens up.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks also reports that Davis will not waive his 15% trade bonus (a value of over four million dollars), meaning the Lakers will have about $23.7 million to work with in free agency as the moratorium ends.
The Lakers were likely unwilling to pay the extra cost of making the Pelicans wait until July 30th to finalize the trade, an action that would have given them space for a max contract. With Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Kemba Walker all linked heavily to the Lakers since the trade, it is somewhat surprising that the Lakers were not able to get that done.
Of course, they could convince Davis to waive his trade kicker (which may be asking for too much) and that would give them roughly enough space for a 25% max for a player with fewer than seven years of experience in the league.
If that does not happen, they will shift focus into acquiring higher level role players to surround Davis and LeBron James, opting for better depth over more star power.