Lakers Offseason Resources: Draft Picks, Free Agents, Cap

LA Lakers offseason begins after loss to Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets complete the sweep and knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in four games to advance to the NBA Finals, 113-111. This is the first time in franchise history the Nuggets have advanced to the Finals. They will face the winner of the Eastern Conference series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers finished the regular season with a 43-39 record on the back of major roster adjustments. Consequently, the team beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, defeated the Golden State Warriors in the second round, but fell to the #1 seed Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. It’s back to the drawing board for Darvin Ham and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers Draft Picks for 2023 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers have the 17th and 47th overall selections in the 2023 NBA draft. This gives the Lakers a great opportunity to add some promising young talent to their roster.  It will be interesting to see how the Lakers use their picks this year. Irving would be an ideal addition to the Lakers.

Irving was reportedly interested in a reunion with James on the Lakers, but got traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a package centered around Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith. He now has the option to sign an extension with the Dallas Mavericks or walk out and find a new home elsewhere. As for the Lakers, they will have to assess their current roster and decide if a trade for Irving is worth it.

“Internal discussions” about hypothetical summer trade proposals for Trae Young have taken place. His name was mentioned in trade talks earlier this season. The Hawks may be willing to trade Young this offseason.

Lakers Free Agents in 2023 Offseason

In fact, Lakers D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr. and Wenyen Gabriel will be unrestricted free agents this offseason while Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and Scottie Pippen Jr. will be restricted free agents.

Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office have some tough decisions to make about who will return and who will be on the outside looking in.

With LeBron James entering his 21st season, the Lakers window is slowly closing to take advantage of James’ final stretch of his career. If the Lakers want to make a play for Kyrie Irving this summer, it will require sacrificing Rui Hachimura or Austin Reaves.

Cap Flexibility

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently over the league salary cap. The team can only sign outside players using any available exceptions or at league minimum salaries. This will require a lot of creativity and strategic planning if the Lakers want to improve their roster.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis each have player options on their 2024-25 contracts and are the Lakers highest paid players on their roster. While LeBron James says he has a lot to think about his basketball future going forward and doesn’t know if he will be with the Lakers at the start of the season.

LA doesn’t have anyone under contract beyond the duo. Furthermore Malik Beasley has a team option on his contract for the 2023-24 season, making him a potential free agent. Additionally, guard Austin Reaves is expected to command up to a four-year $50.8 million extension next season.

Future Draft Assets

2023 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick swap option by New Orleans Pelicans

  • 2nd round pick owned

2024 NBA Draft

  • 1st round pick potentially owed to Pelicans

  • 2nd round pick owed to Memphis

  • LAC 2nd round pick owned

Available exceptions

Most exceptions are essentially “grants” offering teams an additional way to sign players. $12.2 million non-tax. Midlevel, $4.5 million biannual and Veteran Minimum.