Here was the latest intel from ESPN's Dave McMenamin:
“Among the players L.A. has interest in signing with the non-tax midlevel are Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown and Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, sources told ESPN”.
The Lakers can use the $12.4 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception after getting under the $172 luxury tax threshold thanks to Thursday's decisions to decline Malik Beasley's $16.5 million team option and waive the non-guaranteed 2023-24 contracts of Mo Bamba ($10.3 million) and Shaquille Harrison ($2.4 million).
The Lakers are reportedly confident they can sign Brown via the full NTMLE, although Brown is meeting with the Dallas Mavericks at the start of free agency and has several suitors, including the Denver Nuggets.
Lopez would have to give the Lakers a hometown/Disneyland discount — unless the Lakers let D'Angelo Russell walk for nothing. The 35-year-old is coming off arguably the best season of his career: “Splash Mountain” played 78 games, averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds, shot 37.4% from 3, and earned All-Defensive First Team honors. He made $13.9 million in 2022-23.
Lopez could command upwards of $18-20 million annually on the market. The maximum deal the Bucks can offer is $54 million over three years. The Houston Rockets, with hordes of cap space, are reportedly interested, although longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein believes that Lopez is likely to remain in Milwaukee.
The North Hollywood native played for the Lakers in 2017-18.
If the Lakers don't land Lopez or Brown, they can split up the NTMLE on folks like Dennis Schroder, Eric Gordon, Lonnie Walker IV, Donte DiVincenzo, or Cam Reddish, among others.