Lakers: Salary Cap Expert Outlines the Only Way Zach LaVine Lands in LA – All Lakers
The Lakers are in need of retooling this summer, but if you ask most Lakers fans, trading guard Russell Westbrook should be the first action item. Some of LA’s rabid fanbase has now set their sights on the team somehow acquiring free agent All-Star Zach LaVine.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, who knows the NBA salary cap backwards and forwards, cut right to the chase in a recent article discussing the prospect of LaVine playing for the Lakers next year.
“Even if LaVine wanted Chicago to facilitate the move, would Los Angeles have the means to get a deal done under the complex rules of the collective bargaining agreement? The answer is a soft yes. It’s possible but very difficult.”
He then went on to describe the only feasible way that LaVine could land in LA.
“The only real solution would be a sign-and-trade, which presents different issues, most notably an approximate $155.7 million hard spending limit for the 2022-23 season. With just James, Davis and LaVine under contract, the Lakers would only have $36.6 million to flesh out the remainder of the roster. Keeping Westbrook and his $47.1 million is a non-starter.”
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Meaning, Lakers fans that were unhappy with LA’s top heavy roster last year can’t have their cake and eat it too if they want LaVine. On the small chance that LaVine does somehow come to the Lakers, it would be up to LA’s front office to sign a slew minimum players to make it all work.
For anyone that forgot, that didn’t go so well.
Rob Pelinka and company would also have to find a home for Russell Westbrook in order to add LaVine to the roster.
Part of the LaVine-to-LA hype is due to a tweet from Basketball Forever stating that the two-time All-Star is “eyeing the possibility of joining the Lakers this summer through a sign-and-trade deal, according to ESPN”.
LaVine, a former UCLA Bruin and a current Klutch Sports client, himself laid the bedrock for the Lakers hoopla in an appearance on ESPN’s First Take back in 2020 where the Bulls swing said the following:
“Everybody wants to play with the best players in the world, you know. I would love to go out there and play with a dude like LeBron James, but you’re not going to get those types of opportunities I don’t think. “
Acquiring LaVine would be threading the needle for a franchise that might be reticent to move Russell Westbrook this summer just to turn around and make another high-risk maneuver for another marquee name.