Ex-NBA Exec Floats Wild 3-Team Trade Sending Lakers a New Star & Shooter

Rob Pelinka

Getty Head coach Darvin Ham and Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The possible Los Angeles Lakers trade package of Russell Westbrook plus picks for Brooklyn Nets’ star Kyrie Irving has been discussed dating back to the offseason, but former NBA executive John Hollinger offered a creative solution to make things more interesting. The Nets are unlikely to be eager to pair Westbrook with Kevin Durant, who is just a few months removed from requesting a trade.

Hollinger offers a potential solution by adding the Raptors to the deal making it a blockbuster three-team trade. The base of the deal has the Nets landing Fred VanVleet, Khem Birch and Otto Porter. Los Angeles secures Gary Trent Jr. and Irving in exchange for their 2029 first-round pick and Patrick Beverley. Hollinger suggests the Nets may be more eager to move Irving to the Lakers if the team is willing to also take on Joe Harris’ $75 million contract.

The Nets have until the February 9 deadline to make a decision on moving Irving amid his most recent trade request. It remains to be seen if Brooklyn is willing to once again call Irving’s bluff and risk losing the star for nothing in free agency.

The Wild 3-Team Trade Sends Former All-Star Fred VanVleet to Nets

Hollinger outlined how a possible three-team deal would work with the Nets, Lakers and Raptors. Landing VanVleet over Westbrook would be a more appealing option for Brooklyn, especially as the franchise attempts to keep Durant happy instead of once again pushing for a trade.

“Again, this works better if the Lakers make this a three-team trade because I don’t think Westbrook does much for the Nets,” Hollinger wrote for The Athletic on February 4, 2023. “His expiring contract does, however; the Nets could flip him to Toronto for VanVleet, Khem Birch and Otto Porter. That trade is still unbalanced; what would balance it out would be the Raptors sending Gary Trent, Jr. to the Lakers for their 2029 first, and Patrick Beverley going to the Nets.

“I mean, if you’re the Lakers and you’re gonna go ahead and do this, go big, right? Don’t stop at a Big 3; make it a Big 4 by turning Westbrook, Beverley and the two future firsts in 2027 and 2029 into Irving and a knockdown shooter (either Trent or one of the Bogdanovics, which would likely require adding Damien Jones or Juan Toscano-Anderson to a deal). Harris could potentially provide another sniper, although he’s been moving in quicksand most of this year.”

Gary Trent & Kyrie Irving Would Give Lakers an Imposing 4-Headed Attack

VanVleet is one season removed from his inaugural All-Star campaign but has been the subject of trade rumors given his potential free-agent status this upcoming offseason. The point guard has a player option and is expected to be in high demand if VanVleet enters free agency. The veteran is averaging 19.8 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 34.7% from long range during his first 45 starts this season.

The addition of Trent to this much discussed deal would give the Lakers a new four-headed monster that would surely please LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Trent is averaging a career-high 18.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 37.6% from behind the arc during his 47 appearances in 2022-23.