5 Key Free Agents Lakers Can Sign for their 3 Million Dollar Exception

Francisco Garcia free agent lakers
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t have much to work with this coming off season in terms of flexibility to sign free agents. The new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has made it nearly impossible for teams that have spent money frivolously to add talent via free agency.

The Lakers are one of those teams that are over the luxury tax limit and as a penalty, will be handcuffed this coming free agent season that starts on July 1st.

One of the penalties of exceeding the luxury tax limit is that you lose the 5 million dollar exception to offer to free agents which comes with a maximum term of 4 years. Instead, the Lakers will have a lower exception of 3.1 million that they can offer for a maximum of 3 years. That drop might seem to be slight, but it will reduce the pool of available free agents.

At 5 million dollars players like JJ Redick, Tony Allen and Kyle Korver could be had. At 3 million for a max 3 years, they are all out of the question.

Luckily there are still some players out there that could be had for the 3 million dollar exception that the Lakers have at their disposal. Here is a list of some of the best that are out there in my opinion.

Francisco Garcia free agent lakers

Francisco Garcia; Small Forward, Houston Rockets

2013 Free agent status: Unrestricted (team option)

2012-2013 salary: 6.1 million

  • Francisco will not help the Lakers in the getting younger department as he will turn 32 this coming season. He does help in the perimeter defense and shooting area, both weaknesses of the Lakers last season. Assuming that both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol return next season, Garcia could provide another marksman from distance to help provide spacing for the bigs. Garcia would be a great get for the Lakers at 3.1 million.
  • Francisco will need the Houston Rockets to pass on his team option for next season in order for him to become available. It is very likely that he will become available as the Rockets will be shopping for a big name free agent this off season and Garcia’s 6.4 million dollar option takes up too much of their available cap space.

beno udrih lakers free agent

Beno Udrih; Point guard, Orlando Magic

2013 Free Agent status: Unrestricted

2012-2013 salary: 7.8 million

  • Beno Udrih is another player that doesn’t get the Lakers average age for their roster down (30 years old), but is a solid player that can help at both guard positions. Udrih isn’t flashy at all but plays within himself and has always produced. His 6’3 and 205 lbs frame makes him strong enough to play the 2 position, but has the skill set to play the point. Udrih can shoot the 3 well and is coming off his best season since his rookie year from behind that arc at 39.6%.
  • Beno Udrih will be an unrestricted free agent and will not get anywhere near the 7.8 million dollar salary he received last season.

mike dunleavy free agent lakers

Mike Dunleavy; Small forward, Milwaukee Bucks

2013 Free Agent status: Unrestricted

2012-2013 salary: 3.75 million

  • The theme of thirty-something free agents continues with Mike Dunleavy who will turn 33 in September. Dunleavy is a high IQ player that that can stroke it from outside and play both wing positions. Dunleavy is coming off a solid season coming off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks; scoring 10.5 points per game and shot 42.8 percent from behind the 3 point line in about 26 minutes per game.
  • The Lakers might even be able to get Dunleavy for the veterans minimum of 1.39 million for players with 10+ years of service which will allow them to sign another player for their 3.1 exception.

nate robinson free agent lakers

Nate Robinson; Point guard, Chicago Bulls

2013 Free Agent status: Unrestricted

2012-2013 salary: 1.14 million

  • Nate Robinson’s price tag might be rising with every impressive showing in the playoffs. Robinson is currently averaging 17.4 points, 4.3 assists and shooting 47.8 percent from the field in the playoffs for the Chicago Bulls. Nate has always been a productive scorer and inspiration with his high energy antics on the court, but for whatever reason, has been unable to stay on a ball club. The Chicago Bulls is Nate’s 5th team in 8 years. Nate is the perfect type of player that you would want to come off the bench for instant offense and energy.
  • The Lakers have both Steve Nash and Steve Blake under contract for next season, but need to address their lack of athleticism and scoring punch off the bench; Nate helps in both these areas and is both affordable and available.

brandon rush free agent lakers

Brandon Rush; Small forward, Golden State Warriors

2013 Free Agent status: Unrestricted (player option)

2012-2013 salary: 4.0 million

  • Brandon Rush suffered a season ending injury against the Memphis Grizzlies in November. Rush’s injury opened the door for lottery pick Harrison Barnes to step in and shine this season and has continued that into the playoffs. With the collection of perimeter talent on the Golden State Roster, Brandon Rush is now expendable and will be difficult for him to get back in the rotation come next season if he decides to pick up his player option at 4 million. Brandon Rush is a 6’6 forward that can also play the 2 guard position. Brandon Rush could add much needed youth and outside shooting to the Lakers roster. Not including this past season, Rush has improved his accuracy from distance in each of his first 3 seasons, peaking at an incredibly impressive 45.2 percent from behind the arc in 2011-2012 season. The Lakers purportedly pursued Brandon Rush in the off-season last year.
  • There is a good chance that Brandon Rush will not pick up his player option and pursue another contract with a ball club that will provide the opportunity for playing time that will just not be available in Golden State.

What do you think about these free agents?

Do you have any other free agents in mind?

– Fern Rea: follow me or hit me up on Twitter at @fullcourtfern or @raining3sdotcom.

Published by Fern Rea "@fullcourtfern"

Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. I love basketball debates that dont end in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sallday

4 thoughts on “5 Key Free Agents Lakers Can Sign for their 3 Million Dollar Exception

  1. Yo. Nate Robinson is a get. If he is available Lakers have to go after him. You sure he only going to get 3 mill. That boy be ballin in the playoffs and looks more expensive than 3 million.

    1. Nate would be a great get. Energy, quick offense and a great cheerleader on the bench.

      I think Chicago will resign him because the city has fallen in love with the guy. But, if the Lakers offer the full 3.1 that might be enough to rip him away.

    1. I would have loved to see B.Rush as a Laker but he picked up his option and is not a free agent this off season.

      Maybe if Jarrett Jack leaves via free agency the Lakers could still land him via trade, maybe offer up Steve Blake to replace Jack if he leaves?

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