Los Angeles Lakers open up max slot with Washington Wizards trade

(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers moved one step closer to adding another superstar to their roster, clearing the necessary cap space to make a max salary slot by making a trade with the Washington Wizards.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been under fire for a while now. Things have not gone well in recent years, as they missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year this season. Front office disarray and coaching staff changes have caused even more fodder for people to trash the Lakers. However, the Lakers could now be getting the last laugh.

Los Angeles already pulled off a big trade this offseason, landing Anthony Davis in an agreed-upon deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. It cost the Lakers a lot, but they didn’t clear enough cap space to have a max salary slot available.

People jumped on the Lakers as a result, saying their front office miscalculated the salary cap. Well, they have now alleviated that issue, as the max salary cap spot has been obtained.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers have agreed to a deal with the Washington Wizards. Los Angeles is sending Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jermerrio Jones to the Wizards, along with a 2022 second round pick, to clear the necessary cap space to potentially land a max free agent.

Clearing those three players was imperative for the Lakers to get to the max salary spot. However, Davis also had a track kicker in his contract that would pay him about $4 million extra by being traded.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Davis is waiving that trade kicker to give the Lakers even more cap space.

This gives the Lakers some incredible flexibility when it comes to free agency. They can now chase the big fish, such as Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler. D’Angelo Russell could also be in play now as well.

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Even if the Lakers don’t sign one max player, having an extra $8 million in cap space to spend isn’t a bad thing. That could net them another valuable piece for the bench or a fifth starter.

On his radio show, Colin Cowherd shared from a source that the Lakers believe they are the front runners right now for a top of the line free agent.

With this trade being completed, it is fair to think that the report Cowherd shared is accurate and the team knows that someone is coming.

Who that person is, is anyone’s guess. The Lakers would love to land someone such as Leonard, but would he be willing to be the third option behind James and Davis? A backcourt option would make sense, as they only have frontcourt players on the roster currently.

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Free agency will be very exciting for the Lakers. How they improve the depth on the roster will be worth keeping an eye on as the team has plenty of holes to fill.