Los Angeles Lakers could have a space in salary cap for the 2018-19 NBA season, and according to the Redditor KingG_corporation, Magic Johnson could have a very small chance (but at least he will have a chance) to sign LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins.
That will be awesome for the LA Nation, so they can create a starting lineup with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Check the best case: how to sign three superstars next summer.
Right now, the Lakers have 41.3 million in salary guaranteed for 2018-19. Barring Ingram being shot dead by Isaiah Thomas, his option should be picked up and go to 47.06 million in guaranteed salary for the Lakers.
The salary caps for the previous years have been:
2014-15: 63.1 million; 2015-16: 70 million; 2016-17: 94.1 million; 2017-18: 99 million
Projections for the 2018-19 season are set to be around 102.5-104 million, so let’s make it 103.25 so it’s right in the middle of the projections.
This leaves the Lakers with 56.19 million in cap space.
Luol Deng is under contract for 18 million in 2018-19. At that point in time, he would have 2 years left on his deal.
Last year Deng averaged 8/5/1 shooting 31% from 3, the year earlier getting 12/6/2 on 34% from 3.
Next year, his contract situation should be very similar to that of Demarre Carroll’s this year, as he averaged 9/4/1 shooting 34% from 3, and the year before averaged 11/4/1 playing only 26 games.
Due to their similar production and similar contract, I would assume the trade to get rid of Deng’s contract would have to have the Lakers giving a future mid-late 1st and early 2nd and getting back a player with a salary ranging from 3-4 million.
After this salary dump, the Lakers would be up to about 70/71 million in cap space.
From this point on, the Lakers would have to find a suitor to trade Clarkson for. This won’t be hard as Clarkson averaged 15/3/3 as a 24-year-old last year, so teams like the Nets or Kings who have cap space and can absorb his 12.5 million salaries without giving anyone back.
This allows the Lakers to have up to 82.5-83.5 million in cap space. At this point when it becomes somewhat feasible they could get LeBron, they would decline one or both of Zubac and Nance's options.
LeBron has said he will never take less than a max contract, so assuming he comes to the Lakers, his max would be 35.7 million and 46.8-47.8 million in cap space left.
This leaves 23.4-23.9 million left for both DeMarcus and Paul George, which is about 6.5 million less than their max. It is unlikely they take this massive of a pay cut, but with both entering the primes of their career, living in LA, having a shot at a ring and with far more money coming from endorsements in LA compared to OKC or New Orleans, it’s possible,
This would give the Lakers a lineup of Lonzo Ball - Paul George - Brandon Ingram-LeBron James - Cousins, with Kuzma off the bench.
The MLE of 9.6 million is still there to get a great 7th man, and obviously, for a chance to win and live in LA, players of a Zaza or David West caliber could round out the bench.
This scenario has a 0.0000001% chance of happening, but interesting that it could.