Why should the Los Angeles Lakers settle for a Superstar Big Three when there’s a legitimate chance they can create the NBA’s first Superstar Big Four with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Lowry, and DeMar DeRozan?
The odds of the Lakers pulling off deals to land both Lowry and DeRozan may be long and depend on the loyal and grateful Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs working to get Kyle and DeMar to their desired destinations. While there’s an interest from Lowry and DeRozen to join the Lakers, the path to acquire them would require both players to agree to take a pay cut over what they’re currently making and agree to a sign-and-trade to LA.
Here’s how the Lakers could add Lowry and DeRozan to James and Davis, how they could fill out the rest of the roster despite being hardcapped, and why a Superstar Big Four could well portend the NBA’s next dynasty.
ADDING LOWRY AND DEROZAN
The only way the Lakers can acquire Kyle Lowry is via a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors. The Lakers have two options for acquiring DeMar DeRozan: sign-and-trade for him or sign him for the $9.5 million full MLE.
Since receiving a player via a sign-and-trade automatcially hardcaps a team, the Lakers will have to keep total salaries, including the $5 million left on the books from Luol Deng, under the $142.9 million hard cap for 2021–22. Adding both Lowry and DeRozan is possible if the Lakers can limit their combined starting annual salaries under $35 million and move Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, Horton-Tucker, and Harrell if he exercises his player option.
If the Lakers were successful in creating a Superstar Big Four with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Lowry, and DeMar DeRozan, they would immediately become championship favorites for the 2021–22 season.
FILLING OUT THE FULL ROSTER
After building a Superstar Big Four with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Lakers will only have $27.8 million left under the $142.9 million hard cap to fill out the rest of their roster.
There are two options for the Lakers to fill out the roster. In the first option, Los Angeles sign-and-trades for Kyle Lowry, straight trades for Reggie Bullock, and then signs DeMar DeRozan to the full Mid Level Exception. The Lowry trade clears Schroder, Kuzma, and Horton-Tucker from the roster and the Bullock trade clears Caldwell-Pope and Harrell. With the 4 superstars, Gasol, and the pick, the Lakers need to sign at least six more players.
In the second option, Los Angeles reduces their sign-and-trade offer for Lowry by $5 million, uses the extra money to sign-and-trade DeRozan for $15 million, and then signs Reggie Bullock for the full Mid Level Exception. The Lowry sign-and-trade and Bullock trade clear the salaries of Schroder, Kuzma, Horton-Tucker, Caldwell-Pope and Harrell from the Lakers’ salary cap, giving them the cap space to fill out the roster to 12 players.
The Lakers trade Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, and Talen Horton-Tucker to the Toronto Raptors for Kyle Lowry and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell to the San Antonio Spurs for DeMar DeRozan.
While the above Lakers’ rosters only have 12 active players, the Lakers can either try to free up another $3.4 million to add two more players or they can sign two new players to two-way contracts to provide two extra bodies.
BUILDING THE NEXT DYNASTY
A starting lineup of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Reggie Bullock would be a huge upgrade over last year’s starting fivesome and set the stage for another Lakers’ dynasty.
The Lakers would be replacing the Schroder and Caldwell-Pope backcourt that only made 3.0 threes out of 7.9 attempts per game with the Lowry and Bullock backcourt that averaged 5.3 threes out of 13.3 attempts per game. That would result in a 68.3% increase in 3-point takes and 76.7% increase in 3-point makes by the Lakers backcourt. Making 2.3 additional 3-point shots per game would boost LA’s offensive output by 7 points per game.
Transforming the Lakers’ backcourt from low volume, low percentage to high volume, high percentage would eliminate the Lakers’ negative 3-point differential and open the door to add DeMar DeRozan at small forward. Starting DeRozan would give the Lakers a lethal midrange jump shooter who can close games and can get his own shot against any defender like his mentor Kobe Bryant or stars like Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker.
The Lakers will be looking at multiple options for rebuilding their roster but creating a Superstar Big Four with James, Davis, Lowry, and DeRozan plus Bullock could set the stage for the Los Angeles Lakers next dynasty.
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