The moratorium has been lifted and free agents are able to sign the contracts they verbally agreed to during the dead period of July 1st through the 8th. If you’re logged onto twitter, expect to see a lot of team accounts posting pictures of players putting pen to paper, making the deals official. We’ve already seen some of that with Anthony Davis’ extension, Ed Davis going to Portland, and DeAndre Jordan going back to the Clippers.
Speaking of Jordan, his drama filled situation kept everyone plugged into the final hours of the moratorium in a way not quite ever seen and sets us up perfectly for our fast break thoughts. Let’s get to it…
- If you want a great read on the fallout of Jordan’s last minute change of heart, Zach Lowe has you covered. For another good summary, CBS’ Ken Berger offers a fine take as well.
- One idea I brought up when it was becoming clear Jordan might actually spurn the Mavs and go back to the Clippers was how it might affect the Roy Hibbert trade between the Lakers and the Pacers. The potential domino effect was clear: after losing out on Jordan, the Mavs could easily try to engage the Pacers in a trade for Hibbert just as the Lakers had done. And, with Monta Ellis leaving the Mavs for the Pacers in free agency, a natural sign and trade deal could potentially come together quickly. Further, even though the Pacers had reportedly told Hibbert he was heading to Los Angeles, there were reports that the inclusion ancillary assets was still up for discussion. Add it all up and the question had to be asked: was the Lakers trade of Hibbert in trouble?
- There were not any clear answers on this Wednesday night, but things are looking more clear this morning:
Roy Hibbert to Lakers trade expected to go through today. Lakers plan on sending future second-rounder, cash to Pacers, I've been told.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 9, 2015
And if you were worried about the Mavs still trying to swoop in, there is this:
Don't look for Mavs to jump into Enes Kanter bidding now. All indications are they'll take a step back and move patiently
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 9, 2015
- I know Stein mentions Kanter, but the Mavs taking a patient approach should also apply to any other moves as well, including trying to outflank the Lakers for Hibbert.
- With less concern about whether or not the Laker will grab Hibbert, let’s talk some numbers. Per Basketball Insiders’ salary page, the Lakers, including Hibbert, Lou Williams (but not Brandon Bass — more on him in a second), the cap holds for rookies D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr., and non-guaranteed contracts, have roughly $68.3 million committed in payroll. Yesterday, it was reported that the league has set the salary cap for the 2015-16 at $70 million. This leaves the Lakers with about $1.7 million in actual cap space (for now — notice I did not include rookie Anthony Brown who will likely make around 800K next year).
- But now we get to Brandon Bass. Bass’ salary is not yet listed because it is not yet known. The Lakers still have their “room” exception and could sign Bass directly using that as the base of a contract starting at roughly $2.8 million per season. If they want to pay him more than that, they need to clear salary cap space in a trade with Nick Young ($5.2 million) and Ryan Kelly ($1.7 million) the players most likely looked at as expendable.
- Simply dumping Kelly without any salary coming back would give the Lakers about $3 million in cap space. Dumping Young without any salary coming back would give them almost $7 million. My guess is that both are on the block as the Lakers would like a bit more room, both to offer Bass more money than the room exception allows and to potentially chase a wing who can defend.
- Another variable in all these moving parts is roster size. Typically the Lakers like to carry 14 players. Currently, with all the off-season moves made to this point the Lakers have 13 players under contract. Adding Anthony Brown (who will get signed eventually) makes it 14. Add Robert Upshaw (who may or may not get signed, but lets add him for now) and you have 15 players. In other words, when you consider the want of more cap space, some roster redundancy, and the size of their ideal roster, a trade may be in the works.
- Back at the top, I mentioned Ed Davis leaving for Portland, but he’s not the only free agent to depart the team. Wesley Johnson will be a Clipper and, on Wednesday night, Jeremy Lin announced via twitter he would be joining the Hornets. On the heels of that announcement, it is also being reported Wayne Ellington will sign with the Nets. At this point, it seems only Jordan Hill remains on the market. On the right team, I think Hill can be a nice contributor.