It's going to be an interesting offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers.
While LeBron James headlines a group of Lakers with guaranteed contracts for the 2020-21 season, Anthony Davis headlines a group of players with player options for next season. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Davis intends to opt-out of his player option and re-sign with the team - comforting news for Lakers fans, to say the least - but there's less certainty when it comes to the likes of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.
To get a better sense of the Lakers' situation entering free agency, which was originally scheduled to begin on Oct. 18 but has since been pushed back to a date still pending, here's what the franchise has to work with.
The salary figures below are from ESPN, which are based on the salary cap being the same next season as it was this season. There's a chance the figures will be higher or lower depending on what the salary cap is set at for 2020-21.
|Name||2020-21 salary (ESPN)|
|Name||2020-21 player option (ESPN)|
The Lakers have no team options for next season.
Unrestricted free agents
|Name||2020-21 cap hold (ESPN)|
Restricted free agents
Kostas Antetokounmpo, who the Lakers acquired off waivers in 2019, is the only restricted free agent on the team and has a cap hold of $1,523,320.
The only player on the Lakers with a partially guaranteed contract is Quinn Cook.
Signing with the team on a two-year, $6.0 million deal last offseason, only $1.0 million of Cook's $3.0 million for 2020-21 is guaranteed. The rest is guaranteed if he is not waived before free agency begins.
Luol Deng's stretched contract
In 2018, the Lakers waived and stretched Deng's contract after he agreed to a $7.5 million buyout. That opened up nearly $38.0 million in cap space for the 2019 offseason, but by stretching Deng's contract, he's still on the books for $5.0 million in each of the next two seasons.
However, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Lakers have requested a career-ending injury application to have Deng's salary removed from team books. Deng will still be paid, it's just a matter of whether or not his salary will count against the salary cap and the luxury tax.
The Lakers will have their non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception worth $9.3 million and a Bi-Annual exception worth $3.6 million, per ESPN's Bobby Marks.
Assuming Davis opts-out of his player option for next season and re-signs for around the max, the Lakers will likely be in the business of finding role players in free agency to complement James and Davis. They could simply run it back - even if the likes of Rondo and Caldwell-Pope do opt-out of their contracts for next season, they could re-sign with the Lakers on bigger deals - but they could also use their Mid-Level Exception and/or Bi-Annual exception to pursue some of the better players in this free agent class.
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