Lakers aren’t a reasonable destination for Bucks’ Brandon Jennings
Point guard Brandon Jennings has Compton roots and no contract. The Lakers have a 39-year-old point guard in Steve Nash. Could there be a fit in Los Angeles for the Milwaukee Bucks’ restricted free agent?
With the complex rules of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers have almost no chance to pick up Jennings this summer.
There’s no guarantee the Lakers would even pursue Jennings, who has a career field-goal percentage of 39.4% and 35.4% from three-point range -- but for completeness, could they?
The most the Lakers can offer the 6-foot-1, 23-year-old guard is a two-year deal starting at $947,907. Because Jennings is a restricted free agent, the Bucks could match any offer -- and they would be extremely unlikely to let him go at such a discounted price.
Jennings would also be unlikely to desire such a minuscule salary when he can simply accept the Bucks’ qualifying offer of $4.5 million for one year -- before hitting the market next summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Jennings still may re-sign in Milwaukee, or the team may find a more viable partner in a sign-and-trade.
The Lakers won’t be one of them -- they are legally forbidden to acquire a player via sign-and-trade.
Because the team signed center Chris Kaman to a contract Friday, the Lakers are restricted as a team over the tax apron of $75,748,000.
While the team’s payroll is still under the apron at $75.4 million, empty roster spots technically push the Lakers over.
Even if the Lakers tried to make a deal that dropped their payroll under the apron, it’s already too late.
Once Kaman signed his $3.2-million contract, the team lost its ability to get players through sign-and-trade. Even if Kaman signed for just a single dollar over the veteran’s minimum, the restriction would lock in.
Before Kaman signed, technically a salary-dropping sign-and-trade for Jennings would have been possible if the Lakers fell below the apron after a deal -- but that was probably never a real consideration for the team.
Should Jennings accept the Bucks’ qualifying offer, he gains the ability to block any trade for a full year.
The Lakers are free to try to acquire Jennings via trade after Jan. 15, without the same sign-and-trade restriction. If he is dealt by the Bucks during the season, the team acquiring him does not receive his Bird Rights -- potentially limiting their ability to give Jennings a larger contract next summer.
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