The Los Angeles Lakers have opened up a world of opportunities for themselves next season with the departure of Luol Deng, as the decision to waive and stretch the remaining years of his massive contract signed in 2016 as freed up a load of cap space for LA.
That cap space next offseason, as well as the masterful approach Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka took to this offseason for the Lakers — securing LeBron James for four years, as well as filling out the rest of their roster with short-term, one-year deals, keeping flexibility for next year — has put Los Angeles in an extremely enviable position.
Because of the nature the Lakers managed to stretch Deng‘s contract over three years, as well as convincing him to leave a little money on the table in exchange for him leaving LA, the Lakers managed to add an extra $11-$13 million dollars in cap space next offseason, and according to SB Nation’s Tom Ziller, the Lakers will literally have the exact amount of space needed to sign Kevin Durant to a max contract.
“But what about players with 10 or more years of service, like, say, Kevin Durant? Their projected max starting salary next year is $38.2 million. So stretching Deng over three years wouldn’t quite do the trick. There would need to be another move to make the space.
Unless the Lakers convinced Deng to take a discount to get out of his contract.
Which they did.”
Obviously, it’s going to be a lot harder to pull KD away from Golden State than just offering him a large amount of money, especially if they three-peat this upcoming season, but the fact that the Lakers can add another max player such as Durant, or even Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler, alongside LeBron for the next several seasons should leave Laker fans salivating.