Kobe Bryant - 27,849,000
Pau Gasol - 19,000,000
Andre Bynum - 16,473,002 (Team Option)
Metta World Peace - 7,258,960
Ramon Sessions - 4,551,626 (Player Option)
Steve Blake - 4,000,000
Josh McRoberts - 3,135,000
Jordan Hill - 3,632,526 (Team Option)
Christian Eyenga - 1,174,080
Andrew Goudelock - 762,195 (team option)
Darius Morris - Expired (can offer 937,195 qualifying offer)
Matt Barnes - Expired
Troy Murphy - Expired
Derrick Character - Expired
Team Salary if all options are picked up would be $87,836,389
The NBA is saying the Salary Cap won't go up much if any next season from the 58 Million it was this season. But just in case I'll project the salary cap at next season for 59 Million. The Luxury Tax was set at a little over 70 Million last season and if the cap doesn't change much neither will the Luxury Tax so I'll project it to be around 71 million for next year.
Ok so I expect Sessions to opt out and I expect the Lakers to pick up Andrew Bynum, Jordan Hill, and Andrew Goudelock's options. If that were to happen it would make the Lakers team salary $83,284,763. This would put the Lakers more than 24 million over the cap for next season and 13 million over the Luxury Tax. The 13 million dollars over the Luxury Tax is crucial because it means they can't offer the full mid level exception starting at 5 million to free agents and instead can only offer a deal starting at 3 million.
So what does all this mean you might be wondering?
Well unless the Lakers make a trade the only new players they can add in free agency are veteran players willing to sign for the 3 million mid level or the veterans minimum. The Lakers also have no 1st round picks and their 2nd round pick will be the very last pick of the draft so your not getting a player that can play there. Now their are also people out there saying what about the Amnesty Clause? Well their not gonna amnesty any of the big 3 so the biggest salary they can amnesty is World Peace which would take off 7 million and put the team around 76 million for their team salary which is still over the luxury tax and doesn't really change anything. I personally don't think they should use the Amnesty until the 2013 offseason which is the 1st season the new luxury tax penalties from the new bargaining agreement kick in. World Peace proved that if he's in shape he's still a solid starting SF and can contribute.
So How to they Improve?
Well in my opinion they have to make a trade. One of the big 3 have to go and we know it ain't gone be Kobe. I personally believe it's gonna be Gasol they trade UNLESS they can trade Bynum straight up for Dwight or in a sign and trade with Nets to get Deron Williams. Other than that nobody else is gonna make the Lakers give up Bynum they love him to much. So that means Gasol is the odd man out and I have to believe once the offseason starts the Lakers will be looking to move Gasol IMMEDIATELY. One thing is for sure though and that's that the Lakers CAN'T and WON'T keep this team together as is, because when your paying Kobe 27 Million clearly the goal is to be a CHAMPIONSHIP contender not just a playoff contender and right now LA is just a playoff contender. I won't start coming up with trade scenarios for real yet until the season is over and the teams and players make their decisions on their options because that effects cap space, needs, and what pieces a team has or does't have to make a deal. But this is the big picture of what the Lakers are facing this offseason.