The NBA offseason is in full swing and as a result, there is going to be a lot of Los Angeles Lakers news coming in over the next few weeks. The first big nugget of post-draft news officially dropped on Thursday as fans got a better idea of what to expect this offseason for the purple and gold.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that the Lakers are not guaranteed Mo Bamba’s 2023-24 salary, effectively waiving him and making him a free agent. Bamba would have been owed $10.3 million if the Lake Show would have guaranteed his contract.
Bamba is not the only player that the Lakers appear to be cutting ties with. Barring a move at the 11th hour (which is extremely unlikely considering it has already been made public knowledge), the Lakers are also planning on declining Malik Beasley’s club option for the 2023-24 season, also per Fischer.
Lakers news: LA parts ways with Mo Bamba and Malik Beasley for nothing
It was expected that the Lakers would cut ties with Bamba and Beasley in some capacity this offseason. Darvin Ham never believed in Bamba (who also had unfortunate timing with an ankle injury) and Beasley was playing so poorly that he was not even in the playoff rotation.
Paying these two played a combined $26.8 million next season would have been irresponsible by the Lakers. The good thing about this Lakers news is the fact that the team isn’t holding onto a sunk cost simply for the sake of holding onto it.
That being said, it is still a bummer that the Lakers were unable to properly maximize these assets. Los Angeles would have been far better off trading one (or both) of these players to a team that needed salary-cap relief. Bamba’s non-guaranteed contract was a real asset, as was Beasley’s expiring deal if a team wanted to get off a multi-year deal.
The Lake Show shouldn’t have made a bad deal just for the sake of making a deal but there definitely could have been something out there. Now, this opens the door for the team to re-sign D’Angelo Russell, or potentially even bring in a more expensive free agent like Draymond Green.
Lakers salary cap space without Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba:
Keeping these two players off the books creates $26.8 million in new cap space for the purple and gold. Los Angeles is now $39 million under the salary cap for the 2023-24 season and is $68 million under the luxury tax.
Los Angeles can go over the salary cap by re-signing players with their Bird Rights, so the real number that will impact the Lakers is the luxury tax number. Los Angeles likely wants to stay under the luxury tax to not only avoid a penalty but to be able to use the full Mid-Level Exception.