The Lakers have waived point guard Kendall Marshall in a salary cap move that should help open up space to re-sign guard Nick Young.
Marshall, who averaged 8.0 points and 8.8 assists a game through 54 appearances last season, after joining the Lakers in late December, had a non-guaranteed $915,243 contract.
On Thursday, the Lakers claimed Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers from the Chicago Bulls, winning the veteran’s services with a $3.251-million bid.
The Lakers also have verbal agreements to re-sign Jordan Hill for $18 million for two seasons, and Young for $21.5 million over four.
To make all the numbers work for Boozer, Hill and Young, the Lakers need to walk carefully through the maze of rules in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
After acquiring Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets in trade, the Lakers have $46.5 million in guaranteed contracts for the 2014-15 season (including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Julius Randle, Robert Sacre, Boozer and Lin).
Ryan Kelly, whom the Lakers hope to re-sign, is restricted free agent by virtue of the team’s $1-million qualifying offer.
While the Lakers will sign Hill at $9 million, they will do so using his “Bird Rights,” enabling the team to climb over the salary cap. To preserve his rights, Hill takes up $6.8 million of the team’s salary cap space -- even unsigned.
Hill needs to be signed after the Lakers ink Young, given his salary will be $2.2 million above his cap hold.
Finally, for every open roster spot without a player, through 12, the league charges teams a rookie minimum hold of $507,336. With eight players (including Kelly and Hill), the Lakers would have four minimum holds for a total of $2 million.
The Lakers’ salary and holds total $58.6 million, leaving $4.5 million in space below the $63.1-million salary cap -- enough to sign Young to a four-year $19.3-million contract.
That’s still not quite the $21.5 million as promised. That space would increase if Kelly’s qualifying offer were revoked, or if he leaves for another team.
Marshall was a casualty of the math, opening up an additional $407,907 in space to help the Lakers bring back Young.
The Lakers have interest in re-signing Marshall, if he clears waivers -- although another franchise may be likely to claim his minimum contract over the next 48 hours, given his passing ability.
Once teams climb over the salary cap, they can sign players to minimum contracts. If Marshall clears waivers, the Lakers would be able to re-sign him at the same salary they just cut -- assuming he desires to return.
The team has also agreed to sign free agent forward Edi Davis at the minimum, but can’t complete that signing until after the Lakers climb over the cap. Xavier Henry could return on a similar deal.
The Lakers still have one additional spending tool, a $2.7-million “room exception” that can be used to sign a player for up to two years.