Lakers Exceptionalism rose from the grave late Saturday evening.
Anthony Davis was the long-awaited prize that they’ve been eyeing since both the Paul George and Kawhi Leonard fallouts. It took a lot, but the Lakers got their man. Now the boxes are checked with them adding another superstar alongside LeBron James. The real work begins now with righting the wrongs of last year’s roster construction.
Immediately after acquiring Davis, Kemba Walker and the before mentioned Leonard became the team’s focus. The damper of these ambitions are in the details of the recent trade discussed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter.
If Pelicans and Lakers waited until July 30 to complete trade, Lakers could’ve had $32.5M in cap space — enough to pursue a max level free agent. By waiting 30 days, Lakers would be acting like a team over the cap and thus allowed to use 4th overall pick in draft as salary. https://t.co/BdKtxFtvai
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 16, 2019
Despite the possibility of going into the summer without big money, Rob Pelinka and company can still make impact signings that will solidify the team as a championship contender. Silver Screen and Roll of SB Nation covered ESPN’s Zach Lowe on their plans.
The Lakers right now are operating on both fronts. They still hope to chase max players such as Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, sources say. They also have begun discussing players expected to fetch somewhere in that $10 million-plus range, sources say.
New Perimeter Help
One of the first names that comes to mind as a great fit to this Lakers team is Marcus Morris. Prior to the Davis deal he’s been mentioned as a target this summer. His toughness, shooting, and defense are the perfect traits of versatility that can help round out the Lakers starting lineup. It also helps that Morris is a Klutch Sports client and only made $5.3 million dollars last season. For all parties involved, it would be a win to give Morris an opportunity for a title that he’s fallen short of over the last two seasons.
A Neighbor Running The Show
The Lakers don’t have a starting point guard after trading Lonzo Ball. They are going to want to keep their defensive identity at that position, so who better than Patrick Beverley. You’re not only going to add a veteran that’s battle-tested, but he won’t need to dominate the ball to impact the game. Beverly brings much-needed shooting to the table. He shot 39.7 percent from long range with the Los Angeles Clippers (BOOOO!!!) last season. If the Lakers are willing to spend around $10 million on pieces, it’d be a nice raise from Beverley’s $5.7 million dollar deal that just ended.
The Lakers have been trying to bring Trevor Ariza home since he was a big reason they won an NBA championship in 2008. Ariza brings experience and familiarity to a squad that may be thin on this outside of James and Davis. While not in his prime as his first stint with the Lakers, he still provides the defense and shooting that the Lakers should be covering this summer. You’ve got to believe that Ariza wants to add one more ring to his resume and a return to the Washington Wizards is far less appealing of an opportunity than what the Lakers will offer.
Filling The Bench
The bench will need a big boost, as evidenced with the Golden State Warriors struggles in the NBA Finals. Seth Curry is a great target to bring into the fold. Like Beverley, he’s a guy that you can generate his buckets within the flow of the offense without the ball. Shooting, naturally, is his calling card. His performances in the playoffs showed that he’s more than just his namesake and he’s a legitimate NBA player.
A max contract would be icing on the cake to make the Lakers a team headlined by a formidable trio. Fans still can’t panic at the absence of that possibility. As it stands, the Lakers have five players under contract and will need to fill out 15 spots for the season. If the July 6th agreement does not change, the Lakers must currently work on the appropriate strategy in the realm of the moves covered here. Last season, they employed a plan that didn’t offer any complimentary pieces to take advantage of LeBron’s greatest abilities. Now, they’ve addressed that with a major move and have a chance to follow up again.