L.A. was forced to give up a decent chunk of its expected rotation to pry Anthony Davis away from the New Orleans Pelicans, dealing starters Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, reserve guard Josh Hart, and the No. 4 selection in the upcoming draft - one of three picks packaged in the trade.
Here's what remains on the team's depleted roster:
|Lakers' depth chart||Starters||Reserves|
|SF||L. James||J. Jones|
|C||A. Davis||M. Wagner|
The Lakers banked on eventually surrounding James with star power and signed several free agents to one-year deals last offseason, leaving the roster now with just five players on guaranteed deals, and a sixth (Jemerrio Jones) on a non-guaranteed contract.
To land another big fish from a deep free-agent pool this summer, the Lakers will need to hold off on making the Davis trade official until July 30, which would give them approximately $32.5 million in cap space. If the deal is finalized before then, the team will save less space (about $27.8 million), according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.
The Lakers' free-agent targets are significantly better if we assume the Pelicans agreed to wait until halfway through the summer to complete the deal.
Max contract options for Lakers:
* Player option
Giving Walker max money to become Los Angeles' starting point guard would leave the organization with just the $4.7-million mid-level exception to use on a starting two-guard.
Mid-level targets for Lakers:
Signing any of the options listed above would add a legitimate 3-and-D threat to the Lakers, giving the team the spacing it needs for James and Davis to dominate.
Ross is a reasonable option, but he'll likely opt for a slightly bigger payday. Matthews, meanwhile, has been adamant about wanting to play a bigger role in an offense and not just be a spot-up shooter. And Redick has been a perfect veteran fit with the 76ers and could remain in Philadelphia after narrowly missing the Eastern Conference finals this season.
Despite Bullock's short-lived experience with James in 2018-19, Ariza is the ideal veteran option to add after the Lakers aggressively pursued him last season while looking for a floor spacer.
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
That leaves L.A. with only the veteran's minimum to work with while looking for bench depth.
That could lead to adding James' close friend Carmelo Anthony, who was reportedly nearing an agreement with the Lakers last season before everything fell apart, and the former star went unsigned for the second half of the year.
Projected Lakers bench signings:
Those additions would give the Lakers a strong veteran bench to go along with sophomore center Moritz Wagner. The group includes three players nearing the end of their careers and searching for a final opportunity to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy, and a strong 3-and-D wing who played a big role in the 76ers' postseason run.
|Projected depth chart||Starters||Reserves|
|PG||K. Walker||R. Felton|
|SG||T. Ariza||J. Ennis|
|SF||L. James||C. Anthony|
|PF||K. Kuzma||J. Green|
|C||A. Davis||M. Wagner|
If the Lakers sign another star like Walker this offseason, they could quickly climb to the top of the league after missing the playoffs the last six years.
New head coach Frank Vogel would need to get creative while balancing rest and playing time for his trio of All-Stars to ensure the organization secures its 17th NBA title.