The Los Angeles Lakers have only five players on their roster at the moment. Only three of them, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, are projected to have a significant role on next year's team. They need to sign two starters and an entire bench, and they don't have that much flexibility to do it with. The Lakers were projected to have over $32 million in cap space before the Davis trade. Had New Orleans agreed to delay the submission of the trade until July 30th, the Lakers could have spent all of that space and made the trade as an above-the-cap team. The only requirement would be that the Lakers send out at least 80 percent of the money that they are taking in. The agreed upon deal satisfies that requirement.
Instead, the Pelicans are playing hardball. They are expected to insist upon a July 6th submission, the earliest date that the deal can be legally completed. That forces the Lakers to account for Davis' salary, which is larger than the aggregated salaries of the players they are sending out in the trade. The best case scenario in this instance would give the Lakers around $27 million to spend this summer, but there is another matter to contend with here. Davis has a 15 percent trade bonus. If he insists upon receiving it, the Lakers will only have around $23 million in cap space.