Anthony Davis gives Lakers a huge gift in a quest to sign another star

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 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 will now send the contracts of Mo Wagner, Isaac 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 Davis trade whether or not the Lakers would have enough cap space to chase another player demanding 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’s left is to go and chase another star in hopes of forming a new “Big 3” alongside LeBron and Davis.

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 have the 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 they are looking more and more like favorites to win the West Conference next season.

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

The 17 biggest questions facing teams as we head into what could be the wildest NBA summer of free agency in years

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