It has been six years since the Lakers have played any sort of postseason basketball, their longest drought in franchise history.
With all the rumors that took place in the 2018-2019 regular season about Anthony Davis potentially joining LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, it is now a reality as of June 15th.
While it came at the expense of gutting the core in which the Lakers had built over the past few seasons, none can argue that the elite talent they got in return was well worth it.
The remaining cap space:
With Davis and James taking up 49.17% of the Lakers salary cap (per spotarc.com), the Lakers currently only have $23.7M to piece together a well-rounded roster.
If the Lakers wait until July 30th to finalize the Davis trade, they would be able to increase that number up to $32.5M. Enough for another max contract, but not much else.
The Lakers could have an additional $4M if they talk Davis into waiving his trade bonus. General manager Rob Pelinka has to fill approximately six other roster spots with the remaining salary cap and could go several different routes.
Option one: Pelinka could go all out and use the remaining money to try and convince another big name free-agent (ex: Kemba Walker) to form a three-headed monster in the City of Angels.
Option two: Pelinka could parcel that money up and add depth to the roster. This could include veterans looking to chase a ring at a discount, unproven players looking to make a name for themsleves on a contending team which the Lakers can capitalize on while their value on the open-market is cheap.
Yes, the Lakers would be getting pretty greedy with this deal and the depth would suffer but they would be getting an elite level guard in the prime of his career.
Walker is coming off the best year of his career averaging 25.6 PPG and earning his first All-Star nomination.
The fit with James and Davis for Walker would be seamless.
With Walker ultimately becoming the third option on the team and not drawing a lot of attention, he can then carve up any given one-on-one match-up and really flourish in the open court and off the dribble.
The great thing about Walker’s game, that has been missing from the Lakers back-court for quite some time since Kobe Bryant retired, is the pull-up game.
Walker averaged the second most PPG in terms of pull-up shooting at 10.5 PPG.
With this facet in his game, it gives the Lakers an isolation option as well as somebody who can then shoot, drive, or dish off of the pick-and-roll.
Speaking of the pick and roll his 5.9 APG is likely to increase now that he has a lob option in Davis.
The reunion between former champions in Irving and LeBron would be underway. While it goes without saying that Irving and LeBron would instantly click, the next question is how Irving and Davis would co-exist.
Given the fact that Davis is unlike any big man to play in the NBA currently, the style of bigs that have worked best next to Irving in years past have been shooters.
In his time in Cleveland, he had had Kevin Love who turned into a designated spot-up corner shooter. While in Boston, he has had Horford who was a fan of high ball screens but not a fan of rolling, but rather popping out behind the perimter.
With Davis, he will have to get used to a big man that will be rolling with him hard to the basket and will be expecting to get fed a few lobs.
That being said, the talent and being the tertiary scoring option might be just what Irving needs at this point in his career.
Earlier this season, Irving reportedly reached out to LeBron about being a leader and expressed appreciation for what LeBron did for him while in Cleveland.
The pressure of being the face of a franchise may not have been right for Irving. Another factor could be the rise and stardom of some of the young talent (Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum) in his absence for Boston, that would make his value seem obsolete.
While Irving takes chances and gambles on the defensive side of the ball, he has help behind him with one of, if not, the best rim protectors in the NBA.
Offensively, he can give you shooting (a career 39% three-point shooter) as well as a strong finisher inside and is a very underrated facilitator. Not to mention, nobody would have to wonder who would take the last shot in a clutch situation.
The move to re-sign Rondo is a simple and easy one.
What better player to have the ball in his hands and getting it to your superstars than a player who has spent his last seasons playing for Davis and LeBron (2017-2018 in New Orleans Pelicans, 2018-2019 Los Angeles Lakers).
Rondo brings a strong bulldog mentality to the defensive side of the ball and with his prowess on the perimeter, James playing center field and watching passing lanes, and Davis locking down the inside the Lakers could turn into a stifling defensive bunch.
The facilitating ability is the strong point of Rondo and there is no hiding that. With Kyle Kuzma, Davis, and LeBron on the court, there is no reason to ask Rondo to be a scorer.
The best thing about this option is the value they can get out of him.
He will not command an absurd amount of money and will make it more enticing for other free-agents (especially shooters) to come and join the Lakers as they will get open looks with Rondo at the point.
We finally get to a pure shooter. Somebody who will rain three’s like a monsoon. Curry who finished third in three-point percentage is the perfect fit for what the Lakers are looking for.
Already with enough playmakers in LeBron, Kuzma, and Davis this team is in need of a true perimeter threat.
The key to a LeBron led team is having enough perimeter shooting. When he was in Miami, he was able to get players like Mike Miller, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, James Jones at an affordable rate. The Lakers should look to do the same thing.
There were certain windows last season where the Purple and Gold had some reliable shooting but did not have it on a consistent level.
Rather, they placed more of an emphasis on play-makers like Rondo, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson.
By signing Curry, who will be looked upon favorably in the free-agent market this off-season by a team like the Lakers looking to add shooting, he will not take up a heavy chunk of the remaining salary.
Linked to the Lakers for quite some time since his departure from the Houston Rockets, Ariza would make a prime candidate to land on the 2019-2020 Lakers roster. He is familiar with wearing the Purple and Gold and the last time he did, he was hoisting a championship.
Ariza has been one of the most consistent 3-and-D players in the league for the past decade and is averaging a career 35.1% from three and 1.5 SPG.
There is still plenty of gas in the tank and Ariza can still make it rain from beyond the arc finishing with a 36.0% success rate fom three in his 26 games with the Phoenix Suns.
While Ariza can still fill in on the wings on fast-break opportunities, he is reliable when spotting up on the perimeter given his 34.1% success rate.
While that might not be as high a number as his 39.9% rate last season, he was also playing with more shot creators in James Harden and Chris Paul that season. Now paired with scoring threats like Davis and LeBron, those opportunities will be more present.