Now that LeBron James has signed a contract extension, the Los Angeles Lakers can focus on trying to figure out how to win now. The roster isn’t good enough to compete in the Western Conference right now, but that could change. The two obvious teams the Lakers have been linked to in recent weeks are the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers.
Los Angeles wants Kyrie Irving but could accept Myles Turner and Buddy Hield from the Pacers if the Nets aren’t willing to deal. As time passes, it seems less likely that Brooklyn will trade the star guard. However, Kevin Durant has been adamant in his trade demand. If he gets traded, the chances of Irving getting dealt increase.
Regardless, the Lakers are going to have to make an off that the Nets like if they’re going to listen. Brooklyn may continue to try to win even if they lose Durant. In that scenario, the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks aren’t as appealing. That’s where the Pacers could come in. SiriusXM’s Rick Kamala pitched a trade that sees the Lakers get Irving and Seth Curry, the Nets gets Hield, Turner and Kendrick Nunn while the Pacers get Russell Westbrook and the two Lakers first-round picks.
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Why This Trade Could Make Sense
If the Nets can’t get a better deal for Irving and don’t think he’ll be back after the season, this could be one of the better offers they receive. Turner would give them the size that they’ve been lacking while Hield replaces the shooting they’d be losing from Curry. Nunn is coming off a disappointing year but still has upside. It’s not a great return but teams aren’t lining up to trade for Irving.
For the Pacers, they get off two big contracts while also getting draft picks. Nobody wants Westbrook but he could get bought out. If not, his $47 million comes off the books after the season, which is appealing for a rebuilding team. For the Lakers, they get the player they want in Irving and an elite shooter in Curry. This trade works for all three teams.
Lakers Becoming More Flexible
Previously, the Lakers weren’t willing to trade both of their first-round picks in any package but that’s no longer the case. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team is now willing to sell the farm for Irving.
“The Lakers are still active in trade talks around the league,” Wojnarowski said on “Sportscenter.” “Rob Pelinka has remained using– listen, they have two real assets to put out there to do a significant trade. That’s their 27 and 2029 first-round picks, if unprotected have a lot of value in the marketplace. The Lakers, I’m told, would be willing to do that in a Kyrie Irving trade but that’s not something the Nets have been interested in.”
However, the same can’t be said for a possible Pacers deal.
“One other deal … the Lakers have had some on-and-off-again talks about with Indiana, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield. They have not been willing to give up two future firsts in that deal. Russell Westbrook would be in any of those deals.”
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