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When news arrived that veteran Utah Jazz stretch four Bojan Bogdanovic was being traded to the Detroit Pistons and not your Los Angeles Lakers, fans wondered what went wrong. The 6'7" three-point ace would have been a perfect floor-spacing option for a shooting-challenged Lakers team.

Per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, L.A. was open to shipping out a first-round pick to get off the egregious $47.1 million expiring contract of non-All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. Where the Lakers front office ultimately drew the line was apparently some other contract that the Jazz wanted to include in a Bogdanovic deal (possibly Mike Conley's, which is set to pay him a guaranteed $14.3 million in 2023-24). Woike reports that the Lakers didn't want to take back a long-term salary, hoping to keep their cap sheet as open as possible for free agency next summer.

Here's the big issue with that: Next summer, because the team is going to be saddled with a projected $87.5 million in combined salaries just from stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, plus the $1.7 million rookie-scale deal of 2022 second-round pick Max Christie and potentially the $2.6 million salary of center Damian Jones (who has a player option for 2023-24), the team is not going to have a maximum salary slot to add a third All-Star, if such is the team's plan. L.A. will have between $34.3-$35.9 million in practical cap space, per Spotrac.

The team no doubt hopes to add Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who will be an unrestricted free agent, on a deal in that price range. Something below the maximum possible, but in line with what Irving may fetch, as teams may be reticent to add someone with Irving's availability issues.

On Substack, Marc Stein writes that the Lakers are approaching their salary cap space with the same reservations they're tacking onto their first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029. If, in their estimation, a new piece they'll be adding via trade, who has a contract beyond the 2022-23 season, is going to move them into the realm of legitimate title contention, they'll sacrifice some cap space.

This is an incredibly constrictive and limiting way to look at prospective trades. The odds of a single trade moving a team into title contention these days, beyond the return being an absolute stud. Of course, the Lakers have pulled off those kinds of trades in their storied past, including with Davis and before him Pau Gasol. But that's not the only way you can do business. Improving the team significantly via trade is a totally valid route too, albeit more incremental.

The Bogdanovic deal was never the most appetizing of the potential swaps available to L.A. The most appetizing to this reporter has always been the trade that would ship out Russell Westbrook and some level of draft equity to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, who could both help spread the floor for James and Davis and, in terms of Turner, could add some elite frontcourt defense.