The Los Angeles Lakers have missed the opportunity to reunite LeBron James with Kyrie Irving and thus strengthen their chances of challenging for a championship this season.
According to a report by ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski, the Dallas Mavericks have acquired Irving for a package of Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick, and a two future second-round picks.
“The Mavericks are sending Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a 2027 first-round pick and second round picks to the Nets, sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski Tweeted.
Since Irving handed in a trade request to the Brooklyn Nets front office, the Lakers had been seen as his most logical destination, yet, Los Angeles failed to act quickly enough and will now be facing one of their primary targets in the Western Conference, along with his new superstar teammate in Luka Doncic.
Irving, 30, has been an integral member of the Nets roster this season, averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 48.6% from the field, 37.4% from deep, and 88.3% from the charity stripe.
Now, the Mavericks will be hoping they have found a true second star to pair with Luka Doncic to help them over the hump and turn them into genuine championship contenders.
Lakers Were Unwilling To Trade Austin Reaves
According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, both Austin Reaves and Max Christie were considered to be ‘off-limits’ in any trade discussions with the Nets, as Los Angeles looked to keep their young assets in order to maintain future flexibility.
“Given Irving’s on-court pedigree and play this season, the Lakers would almost certainly have to include both first-round picks. Protecting one of those picks could result in the Nets asking for the Lakers to perhaps include Austin Reaves or Max Christie, two of the Lakers’ promising young role players. But the Lakers aren’t interested in including either in a potential package, according to those sources,” Buha reported.
Reaves, a genuine fan-favorite, has played 36 games for the Lakers this season, providing them with 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2 assists per game while shooting 48.8% from the field, and 36% from deep – and has been one of the lone bright spots of the purple and gold’s difficult season thus far.
Lakers And Nets Held ‘Multiple Discussions’ On A Trade
According to a February 5 report by Wojnarowski, the Lakers and Nets held multiple discussions surrounding a potential deal for Irving, but Brooklyn’s front office preferred the deal on offer from Dallas and decided to proceed with making the trade.
“The Nets-Mavericks talks accelerated on a trade today, sources said. The Lakers and Nets had several conversations on a potential deal, but Nets preferred Mavs’ package — getting back a point guard and wing to plug in now plus the future picks,” Wojnarowski Tweeted.
The Lakers will now need to pivot to another target if they wish to upgrade their current roster before the February 9 trade deadline slams shut; otherwise, they will need to hope their current rotation can figure things out and start stringing wins together, or risk missing out on the postseason for the second straight year, but in terms of roster rebuilding, standing pat until the summer may be in their best interest.