The Lakers reportedly didn’t address the trade date with the Pelicans before agreeing to deal for Anthony Davis. That oversight cost the Lakers leverage in negotiating parameters that’d open max cap space.
So, the Lakers are scrambling now.
Different proposals for revising the deal include Davis waiving his $4,063,953 trade bonus. At last check, he intended to receive the full the amount, though maybe he’s willing to leave money on the table to help his new team.
But the Lakers apparently haven’t even asked him yet.
The Lakers could have asked Davis to waive the kicker as part of the deal. Per league sources, they never broached it.
To give the Lakers (far too much) benefit of the doubt, maybe they’re waiting to see which free agents they can attract before asking Davis about the trade bonus. The Lakers might think they have a better chance of getting Davis to waive the bonus if they can present a compelling plan of how the extra money would be used.
More likely, it seems Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka just isn’t covering all the bases he should.
There are still ways for the Lakers open max cap space and get Davis more, if not all, of his bonus. Essentially, the Lakers must send out more money in the trade so they can take in more money, including Davis’ trade bonus. They could guarantee more of Jemerrio Jones‘ salary and/or sign-and-trade Alex Caruso in a revised version of the deal.
But Jones and Caruso would have negative value in those scenarios. So, the Lakers would have to attach sweeteners to whichever team took them.
That might be a justifiable cost of forming a team with LeBron James, Davis and a third star. It’s also a cost that should have been more thoughtfully considered before agreeing to terms with New Orleans.