Grading Every Lakers Summer Transaction

The Lakers made several moves that continue to build the young core previously assembled while also clearing their cap sheet for the summer of 2018 and the chase of two max free agents.

Trades

Lakers Trade: D'Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov
Lakers Recieve: Brook Lopez, #27 Pick

Early on, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka made it very clear that the final goal is to bring two stars to the Lakers. Through this trade, the Lakers created valuable cap space for the 2018 offseason while also adding a former All-Star center in Brook Lopez which will further aid in the development of the young core. While the team furthered along the path of creating space for two max free agents, they also lost a valuable asset in D'Angelo Russell, who was wildly mishandled in his two seasons with the team. The team never allowed Russell to play in his natural role, as a secondary ball handler who can create off screens and in the pick and roll. He was forced to try and be a pure point guard, setting up teammates before looking to attack for his own shot. In a vacuum, the Lakers were swindled in this trade, giving up their best young player (at the time) for an expiring contract and a first round pick. Looking at the trade from the perspective that they are going to use the cap space created to sign max players in free agency makes it better, but doesn't mask errors in the process behind the trade. 

Lakers Grade: C+

The only reason this trade is not a low D or F is because of the possibility that the team uses cap space created to sign max free agents. If that does not happen, the trade becomes a total disaster. 

Draft

#2 Pick
Lakers Select: Lonzo Ball

The Lakers made the no brainer decision in selecting Lonzo Ball with the number two pick. His summer league performance showed us how special of a player he can become. He averaged just over 16 points while logging 9.3 assists per contest. He makes his teammates better by setting them up for high percentage shots and creates an infectious desire to move the ball among anyone on the court with him. 

Lakers Grade: A

#27 Pick
Lakers Select: Kyle Kuzma

With the pick acquired in the D'Angelo Russell trade, the Lakers drafted Kyle Kuzma, a 22-year-old stretch four from Utah. I will admit at the time, Kuzma was the pick I was least excited about. I saw him as being superfluous with the glut of power forwards on the roster already. Through his electric summer league performance, he proved me wrong. He showed his willingness to run the floor, his impressive shooting off the dribble and off screens, and his ability to switch out and stay in front of guards, an important skill in Luke Walton's defense.

Lakers Grade: A 

The Lakers then traded the number 28 pick to the Utah Jazz for the 30th and 42nd picks

#30 Pick
Lakers Select: Josh Hart

Josh Hart was a four year standout at Villanova, winning a national championship in his junior season. He displayed the ability to defend his position and switch onto bigger players if necessary. He is a low upside player who has a chance to be a solid role player on a playoff team.  Most of all he brings maturity and winning experience to a young core lacking in those categories. For more on Josh Hart read: Hart of A Champion.

Lakers Grade: B+

#42 Pick
Lakers Select: Thomas Bryant

With the 42nd pick, the Lakers selected Thomas Bryant from Indiana, whom they believe can be a future stretch five with potential as a rim protector. Byrant's summer league performance showed how much passion he plays with, and he also showed some promise as a pick and pop threat in limited opportunities. Any player who can see the court in the NBA is good value with a second round pick. 

Lakers Grade: A

Free Agency

Going into free agency, the Lakers only goal was to maintain their "sacred" cap space for the summer of 2018. In order to do so, they would be limited to signing one-year deals. 

Lakers Sign: Alex Caruso
Contract: Two-Way

The Lakers liked what they saw from Alex Caruso during summer league and for good reason. He showed great defensive intensity at the point of attack along with the ability to shoot the three and set up teammates in the pick and roll. He was the recipient of the Lakers' first of two Two-Way contracts. Under this contract, players are eligible for 45 "days of service" with an NBA team, but these are not equivalent to games played. A "day of service" could be a practice or workout with the NBA team or a day of travel with the NBA team. Caruso will be a nice piece at the end of the bench for the days he is a part of the Lakers.

Lakers Grade: B+

Lakers Sign: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Contract: 1 Year/$17,745,894

This was quite the coup for the Lakers front office. KCP became an unrestricted free agent after the Pistons renounced his rights after their trade for Avery Bradley. The Lakers pounced on the opportunity to sign a quality two-way player on a one year deal. Another added plus to the deal was that the team was able to work with agent Rich Paul who just so happens to represent another pretty good player. Overall this was a fantastic move for the Lakers who were lucky to have KCP fall in their lap. 

Laker Grade: A+ (The plus is for the amazing press conference moment it provided)

Lakers Sign: Tyler Ennis
Contract: 2 yr(s) / $3,180,397 (2nd Year Fully Non-Guaranteed)

This was by far the biggest "meh" move of the summer. Ennis is a below average backup point guard, and there were other players on the market who could've provided a bigger impact. That being said it is by no means a bad move. Ennis played in the Lakers' system last season and played with great energy in the time he was on the team. The team felt that he deserved another chance to prove himself and there is no risk in a one year deal.

Lakers Grade: B-

Overall Offseason Grade: A-

All in all, the Lakers had an extremely effective offseason. They created the cap flexibility they so desperately craved, totally nailed the draft, and were gifted a quality two way player in free agency that they had no chance of getting coming into July. 


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