ORIGINAL: David Levine
Lakers are in a super weird position for the next year or two.
They have 4 players alone that bring them near the luxury tax next season in LeBron, AD, Westbrook and THT.
Something called "Auston Reaves" is the only other guaranteed contract for next year. Nunn has a 5.2M Player option, Stanley Johnson has a 2.3M Team option. Mason Jones has a QO. That's the roster.
Technically Westbrook has a player option for next year, but I don't see him turning down 47M.
They have no 1st round picks. If they draw 1-10 it goes to NOLA, 11-30 it goes to Memphis. NOLA also has the option to swap picks in 2023. And then NOLA has their choice of the Lakers 2024 or 2025 pick (no protections).
Because of that 2024/2025 option, the earliest 1st rounder the Lakers can trade is 2027.
Can they dump AD who still has 3 years and 120M owed to him?
They could probably find a taker for Westbrook if they're willing to take back worse (ie: longer) deals. But without 1st round picks to attach to him, it'll be tough. And I doubt they want to muck up their future cap because in 2023/24, AD and THT are the only contracts currently on their books.
Best thing they can do, I guess, is just hold tight and punt next year, and hope to attract 2-3 high end players with their cap room in 2 years.
Per the last line, that's about it.
Strangely, they have gotten 'young' lately with Vogel playing Monk, Reaves, Stanley Johnson, and THT over Howard, Carmelo, and Ariza. It's not saying much.