$94M Sharpshooter Floated as Lakers Consolation Prize in Kyrie Irving Sweepstakes

Kyrie Irving, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Kyrie Irving, Los Angeles Lakers

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to explore potential avenues to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, it would be prudent for them to begin exploring potential backup options.

Of course, finding a way to reunite LeBron James with Irving should be the top priority, but finding a deal that works for both sides is always going to be difficult, regardless of how badly Irving wants out. As such, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report has proposed a potential backup option for the Lakers, should their pursuit of Irving ultimately fail, listing Buddy Hield of the Indiana Pacers as an ideal option.

“Hield is a logical Plan B because of his three-point prowess—he has shot 39.8 percent from beyond the arc in his career…Hield, who was a Lakers target before the team pivoted to Westbrook last offseason, would make L.A. a more complete team, but there are obstacles to acquiring him.” Knox wrote as he considered the notion of Hield, which was originally postulated by Dave McMenamin on ESPN’S July 2 episode of NBA Today.

Kendrick Perkins walks off the set during the Lakers conversation 🤣 | NBA TodayWhile Tim Legler, Dave McMenamin, Richard Jefferson and Malika Andrews discuss the Los Angeles Lakers, Kendrick Perkins walks off the set. ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-07-02T00:14:20Z

Hield’s reputation as an elite sharpshooter could appeal to the Lakers front office, as they look to add additional floor spacing around the interior presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis – something that will be even more significant if Russell Westbrook remains on the roster heading into the new season.

Hield’s Shooting Could Unlock the Lakers’ Offense

While that are very players at the level of Irving, finding somebody who can fill a clear hole within your rotation can have an enormous impact, and that’s where Hield’s value to the Lakers could become an interesting factor.

Throughout his six years in the NBA, the six-foot-four shooting guard has shot the three-ball at a 39.8% clip on 7.6 attempts per game. Such reliability from deep with impressive volume would work wonders for the Lakers’ offense, specifically in opening driving lanes or forcing the help defense into making tough decisions. Beyond draining his perimeter shots, the Bahamas native is also adept at attacking close-outs, knocking down 41.4% of his mid-range attempts for his career. 

It would also be interesting to see how Hield performs in a winning situation, given he spent his entire career on rebuilding or struggling rosters despite being one of the league’s premier shooters.

Irving Want’s to Join the Lakers

Unlike in previous years, Irving’s ability to dictate his next stop is minimal. After missing most of last season due to his vaccination status, and then failing to help the Nets out of the first round, the superstar guard’s value around the league has taken a hit – a fact that hasn’t been helped by him being viewed as a disruptive lockerroom presence.

As such, Irving might have to wait out the final year of his contract before making his way to his preferred destination, which according to reports, is Los Angeles. According to ESPN’S Stephen A Smith, Irving has made his desire to don the purple and gold quite clear in recent days, but it’s looking unlikely he gets his wish before the new season begins.

Stephen A.: Kyrie Irving plans on going to the LAKERS | NBA Today✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-06-30T21:35:22Z

“Kyrie Irving is telling everyone he plans to go to L.A., meaning the Lakers, as soon as he possibly can. The likelihood is he’ll have to go through this season and then when he becomes a free agent after this season is over he plans on rejoining LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. They’ll have about $70-80 million under the cap. They’ll use it on Kyrie Irving — or so he believes,” Smith said on a June 30 episode of NBA Today. 

That scenario could work out well for the Lakers, as by delaying Irving’s arrival, Los Angeles could move to add Hield to their rotation this summer before welcoming the superstar guard this time next year. Suddenly, the Lakers would be more versatile on the offensive end, boast high-level spacing, and be better situated for a new period of dominance moving forward.

Hield isn’t the end goal for Rob Pelinka and co. but he does serve an immediate purpose and make the Lakers more formidable moving forwards (he has two years remaining on his current deal) – and with all things considered, that’s a solid consolation prize for enduring the twelve-month wait to welcome Irving into Tinseltown.

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