Last week, following opting out of his contract, Monta Ellis was rumored to be drawing interest from the Los Angeles Lakers. Outside of the fact that Ellis is the last thing this Lakers team needs, this is all but mathematically impossible for the Lakers to acquire Ellis.
Under the new CBA rules, which came into effect this year, any team above the tax apron is not allowed to acquire a player via sign and trade. Eric Pincus for the LA Times broke it down this morning
The tax threshold is expected to come in at an estimated $71.5 million. The apron will be set to $4 million over the threshold — or approximately $75.5 million.
The Lakers currently have $68.1 million in guaranteed salary for the coming year, more if Metta World Peace doesn’t opt out of the final $7.7 million on his contract.
The Lakers hope to re-sign Dwight Howard for approximately $20.5 million. With both Howard and World Peace under contract, the Lakers payroll would climb close to $100 million.
So what does this all mean? It means that the Lakers could sign and trade Dwight Howard to a team, but they can not bring in a player that signed and then was traded from his team.
For example (and purely hypothetical), the Lakers could sign and trade Dwight Howard to the Clippers for Blake Griffin, but not for Chris Paul as he is a free agent. The same can be said for Josh Smith, Monta Ellis, and any other current free agent.
One of the only ways the Lakers will be able to add a player without trading for them will be via their mini mid-level exception. However, that only grants the Lakers roughly $3 million to use on a player. So if Monta Ellis wants to take a pay cut from $11 million to $3 million, he could technically play for the Lakers next season. But that’s not happening, so let’s not even debate that.