The LA Lakers have been going through continuous changes since their season ended back in April.
First came Frank Vogel's departure, which in turn led to Darvin Ham's introduction as the new head coach.
Ham went on to retool the coaching staff, with the Lakers letting go of three major assistant coaches. One of them was David Fizdale, who went on to join the Utah Jazz as their associate general manager. Ham also added former NBA champion Rasheed Wallace to his coaching staff.
The LA Lakers also managed to strike a deal with Orlando, landing them the 35th pick in the 2022 draft. They picked Michigan State guard Max Christie.
With impending free agency and multiple players on the roster due payment with team and player options, we take a look at some of the latest rumors surrounding the purple and gold.
LA Lakers expected to pick up Austin Reaves' $1.6 million team-option
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to pick up Austin Reaves' team-option worth $1.6 million soon. Buha wrote:
"...Add in the team options for Stanley Johnson ($2.4 million), Wenyen Gabriel ($1.9 million) and Austin Reaves ($1.6 million), which the Lakers are expected to pick up, according to league sources, and the team is already at $150.8 million in salary with just eight players." (via) The Athletic.
As expected, Russell Westbrook exercised his $47 million player option yesterday, and will return to play for the Lakers. His contract expires next season with him becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Kyrie Irving opted into his $36 million player option and the Lakers failed to finalize a sign-and-trade with the Nets, but as we've mentioned before, the decision could very well suit both parties with Westbrook becoming a free agent and clearing the requsite cap space for Irving to strike a deal next season.
Buha also reported that for the impending moratorium period, the Lakers are aggressively hunting for two-way wings.
Malik Monk is still on the lookout for better deals
Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported that Monk would sign with the Lakers even if he had to take a pay cut, but Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer had contradicting information. Fischer wrote:
"The Lakers would like to retain Malik Monk at their taxpayer mid-level, but Monk is also searching for more lucrative deals, sources said, despite telling Jovan Buha of The Athletic he'd be willing to return to Los Angeles on a discount." (via) Bleacher Report
The LA Lakers' taxpayer midlevel of $6 million would still be a massive salary bump from his $1.7 million contract, but Monk might be hoping to do better. The Pacers, Spurs and Pistons do have the requisite salary cap for a player like Monk, and the player could also get more playing time on a younger team.
Wall-Westbrook trade dead in the water
The LA Lakers have consistently pursued the Houston Rockets for a John Wall-Russell Westbrook trade this past season. A trade involving Wall and Westbrook fell through at the trade deadline after the Lakers were reluctant to include their first-round picks in the mix.
Now that Wall has agreed to a buyout with the Rockets, any further discussions over the Wall-Westbrook trade have been rendered futile. John Wall is already rumored to sign with the LA Clippers once he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on the same, stating:
"John Wall is planning to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he clears waivers, sources tell ESPN."
A trade involving Westbrook seems very unlikely at this point, unless the Lakers are ready to give up their first-round pick, which they most likely are not.