On Monday, the NBA granted the Lakers a $1.5-million disabled player exception for injured rookie power forward Julius Randle.
The exception, which expires on March 10, can be used to sign or claim a single player off waivers for $1.5 million, or trade for a player making up to $1.6 million. In each case, the player acquired cannot be under contract beyond the current season.
The list of players who would fit within the Lakers' disabled player exception is relatively short. The best names (Draymond Green, Patrick Beverley, etc.) are not likely to be available to the Lakers in trade:
Atlanta Hawks: John Jenkins, Pero Antic
Charlotte Hornets: Jeffrey Taylor
Dallas Mavericks: Greg Smith
Detroit Pistons: Kyle Singler
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green, Nemanja Nedovic (currently on waivers)
Houston Rockets: Patrick Beverley
Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton
Minnesota Timberwolves: Ronny Turiaf, Robbie Hummel
Orlando Magic: Willie Green, Kyle O'Quinn
Portland Trail Blazers: Victor Claver, Will Barton
Note that the Lakers would not need to use the exception to trade for a player on a minimum contract. Teams are generally able to trade for a minimum player without having to send out a player with matching salary.
Just as the Lakers may have limited trade options, they may also find an impact free agent at $1.5 million.
Shooting guard Ray Allen is available but hasn't decided if he'll return to the NBA. Center Emeka Okafor, still working his way back from a neck injury, may also ink with a team before long. Both are likely to seek an opportunity for a championship, something the Lakers may not be able to provide.
Quincy Miller was recently cut by the Denver Nuggets, but a minimum contract (instead of the disabled player amount of $1.5 million) is probably the going rate for the small forward.
The Lakers currently have the maximum 15 players under contract. The disabled player exception doesn't allow for a 16th. The Lakers would have to make a roster move to open up space for a new acquisition.