On Thursday night, the
With Russell, along with
The franchise will also get power forward
Clarkson's non-guaranteed $845,059 deal for next season is as safe as can be. The Lakers also appear high on guard
The team will ink Russell to a four-year, rookie-scale contract, starting at $5.1 million for the coming season, although the Lakers might wait until they use their cap space this summer, gaining an extra $850,520 of spending power if they delay Russell's signing.
Forward Larry Nance Jr., taken Thursday with the 27th overall pick, will take up $963,000 of the Lakers' cap space before signing but probably will receive the standard bump of 120% to $1.2 million once he signs his deal.
Stanford small forward Anthony Brown, drafted 34th overall, has no effect on the Lakers' cap position.
The Lakers have three significant decisions. Forward/center
The Lakers can opt Hill into his contract and trade him to another team, provided it didn't hurt their cap position -- or returned a player of significant value.
If the Lakers pass on Hill, Sacre and Blue, the team could have $22.7 million in spending power, presuming the salary climbs to NBA's most recent projection of $67.1 million.
The exact figure won't be announced until July 9, although teams can negotiate and come to terms with free agents as of June 30 at 9:01 p.m. PDT.
Keeping Sacre would trim the Lakers' cap room to $22.2 million, a positive sign for the third-year center's return, his contract eating up just $456,255 more than an empty roster charge of $525,093.
Hill, on the other hand, would drop the Lakers' cap space to roughly $14 million -- taking away the team's ability to chase a free agent worth a maximum salary.
The Blazers will try to keep Aldridge, probably offering a five-year, $108-million contract. The Lakers top offer would be four years at roughly $80 million.
The Lakers can also offer a similar offer to Clippers center
It's going to take a strong pitch from the Lakers to nab a top free agent, although some may leave their situations for reasons beyond the money.
Other power players on the free agent market are thought to include
The Lakers could also look to use their cap room to absorb a big man in trade, such as Indiana Pacer' center
While the team discussed a
If the Lakers do spend almost $19 million on a maximum free agent such as Aldridge or Jordan, they'll have roughly $4 million left to spend in free agency.
The team would also have a $2.8-million room exception, followed by minimum contracts to fill out the roster.
Trading away a player such as Young could increase the Lakers' spending power by almost $5 million, provided no salary comes back in return.
The Lakers went into Thursday's draft with the plan of finding a suitable big man in free agency -- but ultimately it's up to an available player to choose the Lakers.
The following is a potential depth chart for the Lakers next season, with a 14-man roster (one shy of the maximum 15):
Point guards: D'Angelo Russell, $2.8-million free agent
Shooting guards: Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown
Small forwards: Nick Young, Anthony Brown, $4-million free agent
Power forwards: Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly, Larry Nance Jr.
Centers: Robert Sacre, Tarik Black, $19-million free agent