Heading into the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers had only three guaranteed contracts on the books (Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Robert Sacre). Now, weeks removed from the NBA Draft, the Lakers still only have three contracts on the books. How is this possible after the team drafted Julius Randle at No. 7 and Jordan Clarkson at No. 46? Well, as the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes has yet to come to a close, Los Angeles is keeping the excess cap space open in the event Anthony decides to sign a maximum contract with the Lakers.
So, one may assume, no big deal the NBA season does not begin until for months from now and what does it matter if Randle is under contract or not. Well, first and foremost, the Lakers cannot spend the salary assumed by Randle due to something called a “cap hold.” A cap hold basically acts as a temporary deduction in available salary cap space for a player who is expected to be signed in the relatively near future. For example, Los Angeles currently has an approximate $34,200,000 on the books between Nash, Bryant and Sacre. Next we must add in Randle’s cap hold on a rookie scale minimum salary of $2.4 million, making the Lakers’ total for owed salaries about $36,600,000.