The Los Angeles Lakers have been urged to trade for “shooters” instead of a $36 million superstar guard.
“There weren’t a ton of standout shooters on the free-agent market this offseason, and the players Los Angeles has signed thus far are likely to serve more in bench roles,” Rill wrote. “So it seems likely the Lakers will need to make a trade if they hope to make a substantial upgrade. They should do that, but they shouldn’t wait out the Irving situation. Make a trade now, improve their outside shooting and let the Nets figure out what they should do with Irving without getting involved in a potential deal.”
According to a July 7 report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Irving wants to get traded to the Lakers and reunite with LeBron James. However, the Nets are expected to deal with Kevin Durant’s trade request before taking care of Irving, who has only drawn interest from the Lakers.
“The only team known to have interest is the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets have given out the vibe that they want to do a Kevin Durant trade first before moving on to Kyrie,” Windhorst said on the July 11 episode of Get Up.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on June 30 that the Lakers’ priority as the offseason unfolds is to address outside shooting. Last season, Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts. Even though Irving is a career 39.3% shooter from beyond the arc and an elite scorer, it’s not written in stone that the Lakers can get him.
Lakers Could Miss out on Other Shooters by Waiting for Irving Deal
The Lakers could miss out on other shooters who are on the trade block by waiting for an Irving trade. According to a July 6 report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles has expressed interest in Houston Rockets veteran Eric Gordon and Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield, but both sharpshooters could get traded before Irving.
Rill believes the Lakers should acquire multiple shooters and build depth around James and Anthony Davis instead of taking the three-superstar approach with Irving.
“However, it seems likely that Los Angeles would have to part with more draft capital to acquire Irving than it would Hield, Gordon or a similar type of player,” Rill wrote. “And the longer the Lakers wait on Irving, the more the landscape of the league could change, potentially impacting the trade market for some of their other possible targets. … An Irving trade isn’t the only way to create that type of situation. In fact, it may not even be the best move for them to make. After all, the Lakers grouped James with Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook and still missed the playoffs last season. Their three-superstar approach (even with Irving subbed in for Westbrook) may not be the one to get them back to the postseason.”
Some Members of Lakers Don’t Want Irving
Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on the July 8 episode of “The Athletic NBA Show” that some members of the Lakers want to acquire Hield and Myles Turner from the Pacers instead of Irving even though James has made it clear behind the scenes he wants his former teammate.
“With Kyrie, I know he wants to be in LA,” Buha said. “I know LeBron wants him in LA. He’s been behind the scenes putting some pressure. I don’t want to get too into it, but I think the Jeanie Buss tweet had something to do with some of the stuff that’s been going on behind the scenes. I think there’s a slight divide right now where LeBron wants Kyrie and some people internally might prefer a Myles Turner, Buddy Hield type deal.”
According to a July 2 report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers and Nets are actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that would send Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn and Irving to Los Angeles. However, some around the NBA are skeptical of whether the deal will go through.
“Rival scouts and executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, are split on whether the Lakers can pull off a deal for Irving, with [LeBron] James’ looming deadline for a contract extension in early August viewed as a key date,” Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times wrote on July 11.
Irving is a gifted player who has a rapport with James and Davis. However, Rill is urging the Lakers to pursue other trade options and not play the waiting game with Uncle Drew.