If the Anthony Davis trade becomes official on July 6 as expected, the Lakers will have either $27.7 million in salary-cap space if he waives his 15 percent trade kicker or $23.7 million if he doesn’t.
That will leave them far short of the $32.7 million they’d need to offer a max contract to Butler, Harris or any other free agents with 7-9 years of NBA experience.
For the Lakers to have enough cap space to sign Butler or Harris, they’ll need to convince the Pelicans to delay finalizing the Davis trade until July 30.
However, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that “although the Pelicans are open to working with the Lakers and delaying the trade, it’s unlikely that will happen, according to multiple people familiar with their thinking.”
If the Pelicans don’t delay the Davis trade and he doesn’t waive his trade kicker, Butler or Harris would need to take more than $8 million less than their max starting salary to sign with the Lakers.
They could get 20% raises in 2020 via non-Bird rights if they signed a 1+1 deal, but their salary that year would still be roughly $5 million less than what they could get if they signed a four- or five-year max deal this summer.
In other words: The Davis trade may knock the Lakers out of the star hunt in free agency.