Lakers rumors: Los Angeles eyeing third max contract player, looking to shed salary

The Lakers are apparently looking to jettison salaries so they can add a third max-contract player to pair with LeBron James and the recently acquired Anthony Davis.

ESPN reported Tuesday the Lakers are shopping the contracts of reserves Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to other teams. Those three young players, who combined to average 10.2 ppg last season in limited playing time, are set to earn around $5 million in 2019-20. If the Lakers can clear those spots, and get Davis to waive a $4.1 million trade bonus in his contract, they would have $32 million in available space for next season. 

That would enable Los Angeles to go after a max contract player along the lines of 76ers wing Jimmy Butler, Hornets guard Kemba Walker or Celtics guard Kyrie Irving. Of course, the Lakers’ target could change overnight. They had reportedly been interested in Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, but he reportedly is not interested in playing for the Lakers. And Walker reportedly feels the same way.

Even if the Lakers end up with a super trio of James, Davis, and another star, they will be strapped for depth. Beyond the aforementioned Wagner, Jones and Bonga, the only other player under contract for next season is forward Kyle Kuzma. That’s a concern, given that James and Davis both missed time to injuries last season.