NBA Free Agency: Breaking Down the Lakers’ Next Roster Moves

Mitch Kupchak has had a busy summer so far.

The Lakers went from wrapping up their 16th title on June 17th, to hopping aboard their parade floats four days later, to picking Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter three days after that in the draft, only to face six of their players becoming free agents just a week after that.

Whew, barely time for Mitch to catch his breath.

Free agent point guard Steve Blake has signed a contract and will be joining the Lakers. Essentially, the Lakers have swapped him for point guard Jordan Farmar, who has signed with the Nets after no qualifying offer from the Lakers was made, something he implied the Lakers should do.

Derek Fisher, though, is returning to L.A. after getting wooed by the Miami Heat and LeBron James.

As of today, with the Blake and Fisher signings, the Lakers have nine players under contract, a restricted free agent in Adam Morrison, and their two draft choices. It is a very safe assumption that Adam Morrison is almost certain to not return.

The Lakers being over the salary cap means that they would most likely keep their draft picks on the roster at the relatively low rookie minimum salary of under $500,000. These contracts would replace the approximately $1 million each that they paid to DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell. Within the dollar-to-dollar luxury tax, the Lakers will actually save about $2 million by replacing Mbenga and Powell with Ebanks and Caracter.

Assuming the Lakers do keep both of their draftees and don't bring Mbenga or Powell back, this would make 11 players. Notwithstanding poor games from Ebanks and Caracter yesterday, the overall play that both draftees have shown through three games in the summer league makes this scenario even more likely.

Last season, the Lakers carried 13 players on the roster. I think because of injuries, they would probably be carrying the same number, especially given Andrew Bynum's rec...

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