Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lakers 2012 Offseason Free Agent Targets

It's hard to conceive a situation where the Lakers would be under the new NBA salary cap (around $58 million) in the 2012 offseason. With Kobe Bryant pulling down a cool $28 million in 2012-2013, even if GM Mitch Kupchak traded both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, taking back the minimum amount of salary, and renouncing the rights to every possible free agent, LA would still be over the cap.

That all being said, let's focus on what the Lakers DO have to offer, in regards to free agency:
  1. A mini mid-level exception, which amounts to $3.1 million annually, for up to three years. The exception can be used each year (for example, just because the Lakers used this type of contract to sign Josh McRoberts last year, doesn't prohibit them from using it again this year), and split up amongst multiple players
  2. The veteran's minimum, which was around $1.3 million last year. It should be around the same for the 2012-2013 season.
  3. Bird rights on unrestricted free agents Jordan Hill and Ramon Sessions, which essentially means that the over the cap Lakers can sign them for more than the mini mid-level exception
Unfortunately, that's it. The Lakers are way over the salary cap threshold, and under the new collective bargaining agreement rules, luxury tax-paying teams are extremely restricted in regards to signing free agents (if you truly want to nerd-out, check out Larry Coon's Salary Cap FAQ. It's the bible for writing posts like these).

As Kupchak has admitted, this offseason will be one of change for the Los Angeles Lakers. It's the common public consensus that the front office will make a big trade involving either Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, or both, but even so, the team will still have the same basic needs: a back-up and/or (without a trade) starting point guard, a small forward and a back-up big man. With any of those added personnel, the preferred prerequisite would be that the new Buss employee be a knock-down shooter in order to provide the floor spacing the Lakers so sorely lacked this year.

Knowing the Lakers' limited resources, we here at MAMBINO HQ (via Silver Screen and Roll) have come up with a list of free agents that could potentially be in purple in gold come the fall. These free agents are all well within the realm of possibility - that being said, I'm going to rule out pipe dreams like Steve Nash, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Ray Allen. Any one of them would have to take a MASSIVE pay cut to join the Lakers (I suspect that all four of those players are going to get at least $8+ million per year), not to mention that all four have at least 14 seasons of rivalry with Kobe and the Show that would probably curb them from signing in LA.

Let's check out the potential free agents the Lakers could move on going forward:

Read more at Silver Screen and Roll, the best damn Lakers blog on the internet

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