Cap space has been the phrase that has kept Los Angeles Lakers fans sane during what has been an extremely disappointing season. Unfortunately, the free agency pool will likely not be as stacked as the 2015 offseason, meaning the Lakers may be one more season away from contending. There are a couple of free agents worth looking into though, such as Kyle Lowry, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas. A major wrinkle in pursuing both Bledsoe and Thomas is that both players are restricted free agents, meaning each of their teams can match any offer they are presented with. With both players being main contributors on their current teams, it is very likely any deal they receive will be matched.
Contrarily, Kyle Lowry is an unrestricted free agent, which means he is free to sign with any team he wishes without the Toronto Raptors intervening. Coincidentally, the Lakers are in desperate need of a point guard, and Lowry happens to be the perfect fit. He is amidst possibly the most productive season of his career, even earning MVP chants at times. A large part of Toronto’s success can be accredited to Lowry, as he is averaging a stellar 17 points and eight assists per game, while also recording two triple-doubles.
The next question that must be answered is, would signing Lowry hinder Los Angeles’ opportunity of signing Kevin Love as well? Depending on how the Lakers play their cards, the team should have the ability to sign both Lowry and Love without exceeding the salary cap. Currently, the NBA salary cap is set at just over $58 million. That figure is projected to increase a bit too, to about $62 million for the 2014-15 season. Many fans found the Kobe Bryant deal as an outrageously expensive extension, assuming the team will no longer be able to land a max player. Contrary to popular belief, the Lakers still have ample cap space to fit in a couple of impactful players.
An additional fact worth noting is that Steve Nash will not retire next season, meaning the Lakers will have his contract on the books for one more year. The majority of Lakers fan are hoping Los Angeles uses the stretch provision on his contract, however, the team is better off allowing it to expire subsequent to next season and be done with it. Of course, the pursuit of Lowry will depend heavily on what the Lakers do in the draft this summer, but he is realistically the best option moving forward. He can be just one piece to the future championship puzzle.