The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly always a major player in the offseason.
However, after losing center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agency last offseason, the Lakers wound up in the lottery and many believe they would better served doing the same next year.
However, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, the Lakers can clear enough cap room to sign two superstar level players.
It’s not a catbird seat like Miami will be in for as long as LeBron James is there, and it’s not as strong of a foundation as teams that already have two young stars like Houston, Portland or Chicago are working with. But it’s a something. And things could really get interesting if the Lakers can find a way to package Nash with the No. 7 pick in a deal — likely after July 1 — that doesn’t return any salary (say for a future draft pick or a veteran on a non-guaranteed deal) so they clear between $11 and $12 million in salary for this free-agent summer, giving them over $30 million in cap space to work with.
That’s enough so that if two of this year’s superstar free agents — LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, etc. — each took a little less ($15-16 million each) and wanted to play together and alongside Kobe Bryant, they could form a pretty hellacious threesome. It’s also plenty of money with which to woo one superstar on a max deal and a player in the $10-12 million range, like Luol Deng, or re-sign Pau Gasol.
The better plan may be to wait until next season when players like Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love, Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Memphis Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol can all become free agents.
Of course, the Lakers could also sign one $10-12 million player and make a run at a star next year.