The Los Angeles Lakers have maneuvered to create a maximum salary slot of $32 million in free agency, league sources told ESPN.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka unloaded the contracts of Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards to make the Anthony Davis deal with New Orleans a three-team trade, league sources told ESPN.
Davis also agreed to waive his $4 million trade bonus, sources said -- which creates the additional space that will allow the Lakers to pursue a max-contract-level free agent, or divide the money among multiple players.
Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, worked with the Lakers on giving back the trade bonus in Davis' contract as a way to invest in a supporting cast around Davis and LeBron James.
The Lakers are sending a 2022 second-round pick to the Wizards as part of the three-team deal, and the Wizards will send the Pelicans cash, league sources said. The trade will be officially completed on July 6.
Nick Friedell and Matt Barnes discuss which top-tier free agents the Lakers should peruse, mentioning Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler.
The Lakers needed to expand the deal to create optimum salary-cap space, and Pelinka executed the deal to completion with Washington's interim GM, Tommy Sheppard, and David Griffin, New Orleans' executive vice president of basketball operations, over the past few days.
The Lakers are expected to pursue several scenarios in free agency, including Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell -- who is a restricted free agent -- and Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, league sources said. If the Lakers decide to break up the money, they're interested in several combinations of players, including Toronto's Danny Green, Orlando Magic guard Terrence Ross, Portland Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry, free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and several other free agents with strong shooting ability.