Los Angeles Lakers: The Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Offseason

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Magic in Las Vegas
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Get a Superstar, One Way or Another

Simple, right? Not exactly.

Jeanie Buss placed Magic Johnson in charge of a rebuild that would have taken multiple teams with that dire of a cap situation at least three years with the cap projections falling short each year.

In 2016, the league and NBPA President Chris Paul agreed to a new Central Bargaining Agreement to go along with a $2.5B television deal, which bumped the cap from $70M to $94M. Kupchak and Buss thought they could lure stars to play for the Lakers. That was not to be the case. Their hopes and dreams for Kevin Durant turned out to horrific contracts in Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng.

Magic’s goal is to bring stardom to Los Angeles, primarily via free agency. The problem was the Lakers were hard-capped. He pulled Ohio State product D’Angelo Russell, a likely-to-be scoring specialist, to Brooklyn to ship off cap block Mozgov. He said of D’Angelo, via Baxter Holmes:

"“We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader.”"

Magic then drafted Lonzo Ball to be LA’s point guard of the future. He also shipped off Clarkson and Nance to Cleveland to further ship off cap space hoarders to bring in Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye, both of which were expiring contracts. It did give him the flexibility, but Magic only has one true selling point to future free agents.