11/22/2020 9:30 AM Update: One of the Lakers’ offseason targets seems to officially be out of reach. According to Sam Amick and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Kings’ sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic is signing a four-year, $72 million offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks. The Kings will have the right to match but regardless, the Lakers will be out of play.
The only way the Lakers could have conceivably paid Bogdanovic that salary would have been through a sign-and-trade and that always seemed unlikely for both sides.
Original story follows:
If there’s one thing we can say about the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s that they do not rest on their laurels. After winning the NBA title last year, they have made significant changes to their roster, bringing in Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, and Montrezl Harrell to replace the departing Danny Green, Dwight Howard and likely Rajon Rondo.
They don’t seem to be done just yet, however. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor is reporting that the team is still in hot pursuit of Sacramento Kings forward Bogdan Bogdanovic, a restricted free agent that is viewed as one of the best players remaining on the market. According to O’Conner, the Atlanta Hawks (with their $25 million or so remaining in cap space) are still the favorites to get Bogdanovic, who the Lakers have been linked to since the February trade deadline.
The Lakers’ pursuit of Bogdanovic is made difficult by their cap situation, however, with only about $18 million left to spend under the hard cap to round out the entire roster before signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, assuming Anthony Davis signs his max contract. Having used their biannual and midlevel exceptions on Matthews and Harrell, respectively, the only way the Lakers can pay Bogdanovic is through a sign-and-trade involving some combination of Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker. Such a transaction would have to work under the NBA’s trade guidelines meaning the Lakers’ incoming salary (i.e. what Bogdanovic signs for) can be a maximum of 125% of their outgoing salary plus $100,000. Giving up more players to get Bogdanovic only opens up more roster spots that have to be filled under the hard cap, as well.
So, as you can see the math is really tight to make this work and, therefore, unlikely to happen. It’s possibly more a ploy by Bogdanovic’s agent to raise the salary that the Hawks sign him to (one rumor has posited that he has already agreed to signing an offer sheet with Atlanta but there has been no confirmation from any of the NBA’s top news breakers). Or the Lakers are genuinely interested in the sharp-shooter and looking for creative ways to sign him. At this point, could we really be surprised?