The Los Angeles Lakers might be in serious need of some roster upgrades, but without trading Russell Westbrook, their options appear to be limited.
That’s what happens when your aging point guard is set to earn $47 million dollars in a single season. And let’s be fair, if his fit with the rest of the roster was better, Westbrook would be an ideal candidate for that sort of payday, alas the fit is poor, and the Lakers are suffering because of it.
However, a recent three-team trade proposal by Sam Quinn of CBS Sports has the potential to change the Lakers’ fortunes, as it removes Westbrook from the equation and lands to better-suited players in his place.
The trade goes like this
Lakers get: Kyrie Irving and Buddy Hield
Indiana Pacers get: Russell Westbrook and a 2029 first-round draft pick
Brooklyn gets: Talen Horton-Tucker, a 2027 first-round draft pick, and two future second-round picks.
While Irving would be the headline return for Los Angeles, Hield would be an ideal supplementary addition, as his shooting would go a long way to resolving the Lakers’ spacing issues from last season, where they finished 21st in three-point percentage.
Lakers Could Consider Eric Gordon Trade
The Kyrie Irving saga is one of the stories of the summer, as the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets do their best Ross and Rachel imitations of will they or won’t they. Yet, according to a recent newsletter from Marc Stein, the Lakers could be tempted to move for Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, once they have a clear understanding that Irving is unattainable this summer.
“I tend to agree with the notion that the Lakers, above all, would also prefer to hold off on secondary trades, like the various Indiana options or a potential Eric Gordon deal with Houston until they know that acquiring Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn is no longer an option,” Stein wrote on July 25.
Irving has been the subject of trade discussions since the Nets exited the post-season courtesy of a Boston Celtics sweep, and at this present moment, there is no telling whether they plan to keep Irving heading into next season or look to maximize their return for a player who becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Kyrie Intends to Stay in Brooklyn
While the Lakers might be waiting on the Nets to make a final decision on Irving’s future, it would seem the superstar point guard wishes to remain in his current situation until the end of the season. Of course, that might not be the ideal scenario for Brooklyn, as they would risk losing Irving for nothing – but if it means they can contend for a championship this season, it’s probably a risk worth taking.
According to a July 25 report by Shams Charania on the Pat McAfee show, Irving has set his intentions to remain with the Nets for the duration of his contract and will look to move as a free agent in the summer of 2023.
“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 said.
If Kyrie and Brooklyn agree to him spending his final year with the Nets, the Lakers will need to pivot onto their secondary trade options, which given Westbrook’s short deal, might actually work out better in the long run.