It’s been quite a week for the Lakers.
On June 15th, the Lakers agreed to a trade, in principle, with the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. Over the next several days, there were questions about some of the unknown details of the deal and a discussion of the downside of the trade due to the package of assets (particularly the draft compensation) the Lakers sent.
Then, on June 20th, the Pelicans traded the #4 pick the Lakers were sending them as part of the Davis deal. The Hawks were now going to get that pick, making them a potential partner in the Lakers pursuit of a max salary slot for summer free agency. This, then, led to a clarification on some of the details about the negotiations between the Lakers and Pelicans, particularly about the execution date of the trade (it would be July 6th, for sure). Later that same day, the Lakers (essentially) bought a 2nd round pick, selecting Talen Horton-Tucker #46 overall.
In the span of a week, then, the Lakers got a generational talent, traded away nearly every young player fans had attached themselves to over the course of years of losing, took heat for what they gave up and how they gave it up and saw a trashing of the guy who agreed to give it all up, and then bought a pick in a draft in order to select someone who some credible draft people think could be another steal of a prospect.
That, my friends, is the roller coaster of following the Lakers.
But now, we wait.
We wait because we are entering the period where I honestly do not expect to hear much. Free agency opens on the afternoon of June 30th — nine full days from the time I’m writing this. While rumors will fly and player intentions will leak to the media, nothing can actually happen until free agency opens and deals cannot even be executed legally until the moratorium ends on July 6th and the new league year officially begins.
There are lots of questions still for these Lakers, a lot of moving parts which impact it all, and the interconnectivity of how the answers to those questions impact each other will create a domino effect in how the team’s summer plays out.
Will the Lakers be able to successfully pitch a max free agent? If they do, will they be be able to open up a max salary slot? In the process of doing that, how sweet will they need to make the offer to accomplish that goal? Will Anthony Davis waive his trade bonus? Will the Lakers be able to fill out the roster with viable role players on under-market contracts? What if the Lakers can’t recruit a 3rd max guy? Will they split up their remaining cap space? Will they try to lump it together and sign a not-quite-max-guy who will still costs a lot? How does all this impact team building and the ability to draw the type of talent to create viable depth?
I could go on and on, here.
And while I have some informed guesses as to how this could go, it’s all just speculation. No one can know for sure. Not when individual people are making individual decisions based on their own value systems and views of a situation which we’re not privy to. So, we wait. And anxiously, at that. I wish I had more for you than this. But hold on tight, because when the answers do come, I have a feeling the ride will be even wilder than the one we just experienced.