Apr 13, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view before the NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Nuggets 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
The Los Angeles Lakers enter the 2012 Free Agency period with needs to address, but they also face significant restrictions under the new CBA.
NBA free agency begins at midnight on July 1st (9 p.m. PDT on June 30th), and like any team the Los Angeles Lakers have some needs to address. Unlike many teams, however, the Lakers have some strict restrictions in what they're able to do. The Lakers are well above the luxury tax threshold of $70 million, meaning they have only a $3.09 million "taxpayer" exemption. Beyond that, additions to the payroll will carry heavy luxury tax penalties. A full list of Lakers free agents in 2012 is below.
The Lakers first priority in free agency is likely point guard Ramon Sessions, who entered free agency after declining a player option of one year and $4.55 million. The Lakers are in posession of Sessions' "Bird rights," so a deal with him is not impacted by the $3 million exemption.
Beyond Sessions, the Lakers have already extended a qualifying offer to Devin Ebanks, making the forward a restricted free agent. Additionally, trade rumors continue to circulate around Pau Gasol, meaning that Lakers offseason moves may not just come in the form of free agent signings.
The complete list of Los Angeles Lakers players entering free agency in 2012 is:
Devin Ebanks (Restricted)
Darius Morris (Restricted)
Matt Barnes (Unrestricted)
Jordan Hill (Unrestricted)
Troy Murphy (Unrestricted)
Ramon Sessions (Unrestricted)