Nets and Lakers General Managers Held Closed Meeting at NBA Combine: Report

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant

Getty LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant at the 2018 All-Star Game.

Both the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers severely underwhelmed during the 2022 NBA season. What was viewed as the favorite matchup for the 2022 NBA Finals fell short as both the Lakers and Nets had huge drop-offs during the regular season. The Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 33-49, failing to qualify for this season’s play-in tournament. Although the Nets did qualify for the playoffs, their season was not much more successful than the Lakers’ season was. Brooklyn was swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics 4-0.

Both the Nets and Lakers are looking to have bounce-back seasons in 2023 with hopes of competing for an NBA title. But that won’t happen unless significant roster upgrades happen for both squads. According to Adam Zagoria of the “New York Times,” Nets general manager Sean Marks and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had a private meeting During the NBA Draft Combine.

“Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at the Marriot Marquis this week at the NBA Combine,” Zagoria said via his Twitter account on May 21. “Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches?”

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Lakers Tried to Reunite Kyrie and Lebron Last Season

For those who may be tardy to the party, Kyrie Irving was sidelined by the Nets after he refused to get the New York City mandated COVID vaccine that was required for him to play Nets home games at Barclays Center. With Irving on the sideline ineligible to play for the Nets, some teams wondered if Brooklyn would make him available via trade earlier this season. One of those teams was the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Ian Begley of SNY, some members of the Lakers organization considered the possibility of a reunion between Irving and his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, LeBron James.

“Several outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets had been open to talking to teams about potential Irving trades during that time,” Begley writes via SNY. “Obviously, nothing came to fruition. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during that stretch of the season.”

Ex-Nets Coach Finalist for Lakers Job

Kenny Atkinson spent four seasons as the Brooklyn Nets head coach before he and the franchise mutually agreed to part ways in 2020. While he has not held another head coaching job since departing the Nets, he has spent time with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers as an assistant. Atkinson could be getting ready to enter the realm of head coaching once again, as he is one of the finalists for the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy.

“The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end,” Shams Charania and Sam Amick write for “The Athletic”.

“Now, the final stage of the process will determine who secures the job. Among the final group, Stotts is known for his strong X’s and O’s, making the postseason in eight of nine seasons in Portland, while Atkinson has been described as a sharp mind and tireless worker. In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster.”

Both LeBron and Kyrie can become free agents in 2023 if they don’t sign extensions with their respective franchises this season. It will be interesting to see what the aftermath of the meeting between Pelinka and Marks will be.

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