Cost-Effective Moves the Los Angeles Lakers Could Make in Free Agency

The Los Angeles Lakers have little room to operate in free agency this offseason, owing $66.8 million to a core four of Kobe Bryant ($30.5 million), Pau Gasol ($19.3 million), Steve Nash ($9.3 million) and Metta World Peace ($7.7 million). 

All that before presenting Dwight Howard with a five-year, $118 million offer. Signing Howard is a legal breach of the salary cap because the team received his Larry Bird veteran retention rights when he was traded from the Orlando Magic.

The NBA salary cap will be set at $58.5 million next season, so we know the Lakers will once again exceed that limit. The luxury-tax bar will be set at a steeper price in 2013 and extend to include a repeat offenders tax. In total, the Lakers franchise is sure to exceed the $30 million payment it incurred last season when its roster also toppled $100 million. 

Luckily, the Lakers also just signed a franchise-defining contract with Time Warner that is supposed to earn the Purple and Gold up to $5 billion over 25 years, per Mark Ozanian of Forbes. The TV deal will bring in enough revenue to cover all basketball expenses, so expect that if the Lakers see talent they value, they'll go and get it. 

Under the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers have themselves in position to do minimum spending outside of a big chunk for Howard. That's what we're here to talk about anyway, right?

What moves can the Lakers make using the mid-level exception, and can they find value to sign at the veteran minimum?

In my opinion, the Lakers need to add a point guard and a solid frontcourt player this offseason. Not only will the additions support the current strengths of the roster, but they will also serve as a durable foundation for the rebuild ahead. 

Here's my quick list of top options for each. 


Point Guard

The Lakers could offer free agent ...

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