As is the case with most offseasons, the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a number of possibly available superstars. The latest name to get linked to the team is Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. The polarizing superstar had an impressive run with LeBron James when they were both with the Cleveland Cavaliers but he decided to make his own path. That turned out to be a mistake as Irving has had limited success since leaving the future Hall of Famer.
This offseason could provide an opening for the two to reunite and try to recapture the magic they had in Cleveland. Kendrick Perkins played with LeBron and Irving when he was a member of the Cavaliers in 2015. He got a first-hand look at how the two played together. He believes that Irving coming to Los Angeles would make a lot of sense.
“But I also said that I would love to see Kyrie Irving in a Lakers uniform playing alongside LeBron James, reuniting again, and also playing where his mentor, the late great Kobe Bryant, legacy is forever held over there in the Crypto.com center,” Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take.”
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Stephen A. Smith Makes Pitch to Irving
From the Lakers’ perspective, landing Irving while getting off of Westbrook would be a positive thing. Irving comes with his own set of issues but he’s a much better fit on the basketball court with LeBron and Anthony Davis. Things haven’t worked with the guard in Boston or in Brooklyn. Perhaps reuniting with LeBron in Los Angeles is what he needs to do. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made a pitch to Irving for the Lakers.
“Listen, like I said, what do you have to lose? I mean, the reality of the situation is you won one playoff game, one playoff series in three years,” Smith said. “That’s the situation. Not only that, Kendrick Perkins, let me give the Los Angeles Lakers a pitch. If they wanted to reunite KD, I’m sorry, Kyrie and LeBron, let me give you their pitch: ’17 NBA championships. This is Title Town. That’s what we value. And when LeBron James decides to step away in the next two or three years, my brother, this is yours.'”
Getting Irving Won’t Be Easy for Lakers
In a perfect world, the Lakers would just swap Westbrook with Irving. LeBron gets to reunite with his former teammate while Westbrook gets to reunite with Kevin Durant. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it’s not that simple. Westbrook is a much less valuable asset than Irving right now.
The latter is still dynamic on the court while the former appears to be past his prime. The Lakers would have to figure out how to sweeten the pot for a team willing to take Westbrook. It’s not impossible but it won’t be easy. Considering Irving’s issues off the court, it could be risky to give up too many assets to acquire him.