The Lakers made 2 huge moves in a matter of hours that set them up perfectly to add another big star

  • The Los Angeles Lakers made two critical moves on Thursday to put themselves in position to land another superstar through free agency.
  • First, the Lakers added a salary dump to the Anthony Davis trade, sending a few millions-worth in contracts to the Washinton Wizards to free up cap space.
  • Davis also agreed to waive a $4 million trade kicker he was set to earn, giving the Lakers enough space to offer a max contract to another superstar that could join him and LeBron in Los Angeles.
  • With the money saved on Thursday, the Lakers could pursue an All-Star guard such as Kyrie Irving or D'Angelo Russell, or even pitch Kawhi Leonard on joining the team.
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The Los Angeles Lakers are staying active in the NBA offseason.

After starting with a splash, trading a king's ransom to the New Orleans Pelicans to bring Anthony Davis to the team, the Lakers made two critical moves on Thursday that put them in position to add yet another superstar when free agency begins on Sunday.

First, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe, and Bobby Marks, the Lakers added a third team — the Washington Wizards — to the Anthony Davis trade. The deal now sends the contracts of Mo WagnerIsaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards, freeing up millions for the Lakers to spend on another star.

In the same report, ESPN said Davis would be waiving the $4 million "trade kicker" — basically a bonus — that he was entitled to after being traded from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

With free agency set to begin on Sunday, it was initially unclear in the immediate wake of the Anthony Davis trade whether or not the Lakers would have enough cap space to chase another player that will demand a max contract.

Read more: There is a funky timing complication to the Anthony Davis trade that could spoil the Lakers' big summer

But thanks to the two moves Los Angeles made on Thursday, the Lakers should now have the $32 million in cap space necessary to offer a max deal when free agency opens up on Sunday.

Now that the Lakers' books are a bit more balanced, all that is left is to go and chase another star in hopes of forming a new "Big 3" alongside LeBron and Davis.

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LeBron James and Anthony Davis through the years
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LeBron James and Anthony Davis through the years
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) after an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 31, 2019. The Lakers won 130-102. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #23 of Team LeBron celebrate after winning the NBA All-Star Game 2018 at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in front of Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans after a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers guards Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a 112-104 Laker win at Staples Center on December 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Anthony Davis and LeBron James attend the Klutch 2019 All Star Weekend Dinner Presented by Remy Martin and hosted by Klutch Sports Group at 5Church on February 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Dominique Oliveto/Getty Images for Klutch Sports Group 2019 All Star Weekend)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 15: NBA Players Anthony Davis (L) and LeBron James attend GQ & LeBron James NBA All Star Party Sponsored By Samsung Galaxy And Beats at Ogden Museum's Patrick F. Taylor Library on February 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for GQ)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: (L-R) LeBron James #6, Kevin Durant #5, Anthony Davis #14 and Carmelo Anthony #15 of the United States celebrate after they won against Spain during the Men's Basketball gold medal game on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, smiles as he walks past New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis (23) keeps the ball from Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland, Friday, March 30, 2018. James scored in double figures for his 867th consecutive game, eclipsing the old mark of 866 held by Michael Jordan.(AP Photo/Phil Long)
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, steals the ball from New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) drives past New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
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Given the needs of the team as it stands, it would make sense for the Lakers to chase one of the marquee guards expected to be available. While Kemba Walker is already expected to head to Boston, there's a chance that the Lakers could entice D'Angelo Russell back from the Brooklyn Nets or even persuade Irving to team with James again after their days together in Cleveland.

Read more: The Celtics are reportedly close to landing All-Star Kemba Walker, and it would create a domino effect across NBA free agency

While a guard might make the most sense, the Lakers are also expected to make their case to Kawhi Leonard, who has been rumored to desire to play back home in Los Angeles for some time.

It took a bit of creative accounting, as well as the help of Davis waiving his $4 million bonus, but the Lakers are set to be a player when free agency begins, and are looking more and more like potential favorites to win the West next season.

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