Originally Posted by Sound and Fury
The Lakers signed Radmanovic for the MLE - about 5.2 million per season, IIRC. Players under contract for the '07-'08 season and their salaries:
Kobe - 19,490,625
Lamar - 13,302,516
Kwame - 9,075,000
Radmanovic - 5,200,000 (Estimated)
Cook - 2,656,660 (4th year option on rookie contract)
Bynum - 2,172,000 (rookie contract)
Vujacic - 1,756,952 (rookie contract)
Farmar - 841,300 (rookie contract)
Turiaf - 770,610
NBA Salary Cap this season is what, about $52 million? Is it likely to jump up a huge amount next season? No. The simple answer is that the Lakers will not have any cap space in the '07 off-season. Oh, and their salaries for the 08-09 season? Currently about $47 million (again, not enough cap space to make a max offer). In other words, fellow Lakers fans, barring some sort of miraculous salary dump - which would have to be either Kwame or Odom for expiring contracts - and I'm guessing most of you would prefer Kwame - the Lakers aren't going to be able to make a free agent signing for more than the MLE until summer 2009 (when Odom's contract is up)!
Then again, I'm actually gratified to see this. At least it will force Laker management to stop pretending they'll make a miraculous Shaq-esque signing in '07 or '08 (a pipe dream anyway; did anyone actually think LeBron or Amare was going to come to L.A. "just because?" - it's all about money, especially early in a player's career, and he's not going to turn down an extra 20 million just to come to L.A. on his first big contract) and force management to try to find a way to improve via trade or drafting. I've been saying for a while that Laker management is making poor decisions by being afraid to pull the trigger on trades... but sometimes indecision is a bad decision!
The Lakers have committed several blunders with their cap management - they should have traded Divac (pre-retirement announcement) and George - who made a combined 10 million - last off-season to a team looking to dump salary. Yes, it would have caused them to acquire more long-term salary, but do you think we could have gotten a good player with a $10 million salary for expiring deals? Baron Davis, perhaps? Ditto the waiving of Brian Grant. If they had kept him, they would now have a $15-million dollar expiring contract to trade... that would have been pretty attractive to a lot of teams (and would have made it a LOT easier to match salary for the pipe dream KG trades). Gary Payton and Rick Fox for Chris Mihm and Marcus Banks was a great move - change out older parts on expiring salaries for young parts with a lot of potential (even if the trade later had to be re-worked and Banks pulled out of it) - why haven't we seen more of this?
Basically, the Lakers have had several chances to trade expiring contracts on mediocre to bad players to take on the long-term salary of a good player... and have passed each time. If Mihm and McKie are on the roster at the end of the season - and ESPECIALLY if Mihm isn't extended - it will be another example of the Lakers' front office being paralyzed with indecision, and I'll go from disappointed to pissed with Mitch Kupchak, Johnny Buss, and the gang.
So, let's keep it real. The Lakers have the MLE to work with in terms of free agency for at least the next two years. That means improvement must come from trades. Again, the only pieces we have that interest teams are Kobe, Odom, Bynum, and "expiring deals" (e.g., Mihm, McKie). Since we know Kobe isn't moving, and Odom and Bynum are only moving if we're getting KG or similar in return, let's concentrate our thoughts on "what can we get for our expiring contracts," okay? Please?