The Lakers plan for the last handful of years was to have the maximum amount of cap room this summer with a handful of superstars available to bring to LA. With the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh available, the Lakers could reload, much like they have in the past, as opposed to rebuilding.
However, as is, the Lakers can’t realistically expect to bring in two superstars with Steve Nash‘s contract on the books. However, the Lakers may have a plan to clear out cap space, which Ramona Shelburne of ESPN pointed out.
Let’s say you package the No. 7 pick with Nash, who is owed $9.7 million in the final year of his contract, in a trade for: a good young player like Klay Thompson, who is eligible for a lucrative extension on a team that isn’t sure it wants to pay him yet. Let’s say you hold on to Nash until closer to the trade deadline, when everyone else is clearing out salary to position for what could be an epic free-agent summer of 2015.
It’s not a catbird seat like Miami will be in for as long as LeBron James is there…But it’s a something. And things could really get interesting if the Lakers can find a way to package Nash with the No. 7 pick in a deal — likely after July 1 — that doesn’t return any salary (say for a future draft pick or a veteran on a non-guaranteed deal) so they clear between $11 and $12 million in salary for this free-agent summer, giving them over $30 million in cap space to work with.
That’s enough so that if two of this year’s superstar free agents — LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, etc. — each took a little less ($15-16 million each) and wanted to play together and alongside Kobe Bryant, they could form a pretty hellacious threesome. It’s also plenty of money with which to woo one superstar on a max deal and a player in the $10-12 million range, like Luol Deng, or re-sign Pau Gasol.
As Shelburne herself pointed out later in the article, this is a lot of ifs. However, it’s a plan and reasoning behind the Lakers looking to move their #7 pick with Nash. If they can clear out Nash’s contract with minimal return, the idea of bringing in LeBron and one of his friends becomes far more realistic.
The Lakers will likely rely on the allure of playing with Kobe Bryant as a recruiting pitch. Without a doubt, a Big 3 centered around Kobe and LeBron would be one of the elite in the league.
What do you think, Lakers fans? Would you part with the #7 pick for the CHANCE at forming a Big 3?