Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Even though the Los Angeles Lakers have their sights set on an NBA championship this season, their offseason is fast-approaching regardless of how things end in the playoffs.
Of course, the Lakers made their big move last summer by acquiring Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. That deal came at a steep price in terms of players and future draft picks, but the 27-year-old has been crucial in their quest to win a title.
Davis is also in line for a long-term contract extension this offseason. He holds a $28.75 million player option for 2020-21, but it seems unlikely the Lakers will be in danger of losing him. Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported in April that “most” people in NBA circles believe the Lakers “have done enough to sell (Davis) on a future with the franchise.”
One situation that Goon did point out was how the salary cap could impact the length of Davis’ contract:
“Everyone expects Davis and hardball agent Rich Paul to negotiate a max contract of some length, but if the salary cap drops from just north of $109 million last season to somewhere closer to $100 million (as some models are predicting, depending on if the NBA smooths out the hit), he might have to consider triggering a $28.5 million option. Unless there is an extreme scenario, Davis would make less money on his option than he would negotiating a new max salary, but the added leverage of a one-year deal and becoming a free agent in 2021, when a lot of teams have set their sights and budgets, could yield him larger net earnings over the next few years.”
Based on everything Davis has said about his desire to play in Los Angeles, as well as the Lakers’ success with him playing alongside LeBron James, leaving doesn’t seem like a scenario that is going to be entertained.
Can Lakers Get Bradley Beal?
One nugget thrown out by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium on the Load Management podcast in June is that the Lakers have shown interest in acquiring Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards at different points in the past year.
Adding a third star could ease the burden on Davis and James, who combined to average 51.4 points per game during the regular season, and set the team up for the future whenever James slows down or retires.
Beal would be an upgrade for the offense because of his natural scoring ability. The 27-year-old averaged a career-high 30.5 points per game in 57 games this season and shot 35.3 percent from three-point range on 8.4 attempts per contest.
There are two significant hurdles facing the Lakers if they want to get back into the Beal sweepstakes, though. The first one being whether the Wizards want to trade the two-time All-Star. John Wall is anticipating coming back from a ruptured Achilles next season, giving the Wizards a chance to see their two best players on the floor at the same time for the first time in almost two calendar years.
Another issue is what the Lakers have to trade? Their roster behind James and Davis isn’t brimming with star-level players that the Wizards would presumably seek in exchange for Beal.
Kyle Kuzma would probably be the best player the Lakers could offer, but his value has likely taken a hit after he averaged a career-low 12.8 points per game during the 2019-20 regular season.
As Goon noted, it seems likely the salary cap will go down next season. The Lakers could have $119 million committed to their roster in 2020-21 if they bring back their roster as is, per Basketball Insiders. Beal is owed $28.7 million next season, per Spotrac.
Unless the Lakers can get a third team involved to make the money work out, it seems unlikely they will be able to get the Wizards star this offseason.
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