On August 4, the Lakers’ chances of eventually landing the superstar point guard took another huge blow, as SNY’s Ian Begley reported that Irving remains happy to see out the final year of his contract in Brooklyn.
“With regards to Kyrie Irving, I was told by a source close to Irving that he feels that he and the Nets are in a very good place right now, and comfortable heading towards the start of next season. Irving obviously opted in to the final year of his deal with Brooklyn, he can be an unrestricted free agent next summer. After a lot of trade talk, there doesn’t appear to be much there at the moment, so it’s worth noting that he feels like the Nets and he are in a good place at this point, as they head towards next season,” Begley said.
Irving has been a top target of the Lakers this summer, but it looks like they will have to wait until he hits free agency next year before attempting to finally bring him to Lakerland.
Charania Has Reported Similar Information
“Kyrie Irving opted in with the full intent of playing out next season as a Brooklyn Net. From everything that I’ve been told, in his mind, he’s playing next year in Brooklyn – with or without Kevin Durant. Irving opted in, there was an understanding that he was going to make the best decision for himself, and Durant will be making his decision as well. From everything I’ve been told, Kyrie Irving has made his intent, he wants to play out next season in Brooklyn and be an unrestricted free agent next summer,” Charania told McAfee on July 25.
With two separate NBA Insiders now releasing similar reports, it’s fair to assume the Lakers’ chances of acquiring Irving this summer are all but over, and it’s time the team begins to look elsewhere if they wish to continue improving their roster before next season gets underway.
Skip Bayless Urges Lakers to Cut Westbrook Free
The common denominator in all of the reports linking the Lakers to Irving is that Russell Westbrook would be the centerpiece of their trade package, as Los Angeles looks to move on from the superstar guard following a tough first season with the team.
However, despite multiple rumors linking Westbrook with a potential move away from the Lakers, nothing has materialized, and as things stand, he will be suiting up in the purple and gold once the new season gets underway.
On August 5, Fox Sport’s Skip Bayless postulated an alternative way of removing Westbrook from the Lakers roster – a way that would give both parties a clean break before training camp gets underway.
“Russ (Westbrook) was such a disaster, I fear that you’re completely and utterly stuck with him. I don’t see any scenario where Jeanie Buss is going to rubber stamp a bunch of draft picks to get him out of here. The best way out of this is to pay him his $47 million and send him home. Just do addition by subtraction.
That would be the very best thing she could do for the basketball team – because then you protect all your future picks, and you allow LeBron to figure it out without Westbrook in the equation. You just say ‘Ok, we screwed up, but we swallow our pride, swallow $47 million, and Russ, we don’t need ya,’ have fun,” Bayless said during a August 5 episode of Undisputed.
While cutting Westbrook free, and eating his entire salary is not the most palatable of outcomes, if he and the Lakers are deadset on parting ways, it may be the best course of action, should Los Angeles wish to retain their future draft assets and begin reconstructing their roster before the new season.