Lakers lock in Robert Sacre's salary for upcoming season

The Lakers have decided to keep center Robert Sacre, guaranteeing his $981,348 salary for the coming season.

Sacre, a 26-year old seven-footer, played 67 games for the Lakers last season, averaging 9.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

Earning the league minimum for a player with three years of experience, Sacre becomes the fifth Lakers player with guaranteed salary.

In addition to Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Julius Randle and Ryan Kelly, the Lakers also plan on adding rookies D'Angelo Russell (second overall pick in 2015) and Larry Nance Jr. (27th selection).  Anthony Brown, taken in the second round with the 34th pick, is also expected to make the team.

The franchise also has three non-guaranteed players in Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown.

With a 15-man roster limit for opening night, the Lakers have room to add four further players, barring any potential trades.

On Tuesday night, the Lakers met with free agent LaMarcus Aldridge with hopes of luring him with most of the team's $22 million in cap space.

Sacre's contract only takes up $456,255 more than having no player at all.  The NBA counts $525,093 against team's salary caps for all empty roster spots up to 12.

The Lakers should have roughly $4 million left to spend in free agency, should Aldridge decide to choose the Lakers over other options, including the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks or Portland Trail Blazers.

Once the Lakers use the entirety of their cap space, they'll gain the league's room exception of $2.8 million.  Finally, teams can sign players to minimum contracts to fill out their rosters once the major exceptions are spent.

While franchises can negotiate with free agents, players cannot be signed until the NBA's moratorium expires July 9.

Should the Lakers look to make trades at some point during the offseason, or by February's deadline, Sacre's contract might be able to bring in up to $1.6 million in returning salary.

The Lakers also chose not to give Vander Blue a $1.1-million qualifying offer, allowing the guard to become an unrestricted free agent.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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