EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — A day ahead of the start of NBA free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers made several roster decisions that will help the team open up nearly $12.5 million to attract a player on the market.
The Lakers waived center Mo Bamba, who would have would have been owed $10.3 million next season.
The team has also decided not to pick up the $16.5 million contract option for shooting guard Malik Beasley, sources told ESPN.
L.A. had a Thursday deadline to make decisions on Bamba and Beasley.
The moves will put the Lakers on the track to remain below the $172 million luxury tax cap threshold for 2023-24 and allow them to use the full $12.4 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception when building their team.
L.A. could also elect to split the full midlevel and pursue multiple free agents with that money. Point guard Dennis Schroder, who had a successful season with the Lakers last year, and shooting guard Eric Gordon, who was waived by the Clippers on Wednesday, are names the Lakers could target in that scenario, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers plan to stay in touch with the representatives of both Bamba and Beasley as free agency unfolds, however, and could bring back one or both on different contract structures, sources told ESPN.
Bamba and Beasley were acquired in the days leading up to February’s trade deadline as Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka overhauled the team in a series of moves, sparking L.A.’s late-season surge all the way to the Western Conference finals.
Bamba, 25, averaged 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in nine regular-season appearances (one start) with L.A. after dealt from the Orlando Magic in a swap that included Patrick Beverley. He suffered an ankle injury in early March that kept him sidelined for most of the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.
Beasley, 26, averaged 11.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 regular-season games after coming to L.A. in a three-team deal from the Minnesota Timberwolves including the Utah Jazz when the Lakers parted ways with Russell Westbrook. Beasley’s production plummeted in the postseason, when he averaged 3.0 points on 26.9% from 3 and played only one minute in the conference finals.
The Lakers also waived guard Shaquille Harrison, who played in eight postseason games after being signed April 9.
Lakes waive Mo Bamba, decline Malik Beasley option, sources say