3-Team Trade Proposal Has Hated Rival Helping Lakers Land 7-Time All-Star

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

Heading into the offseason, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers had close to no options in significantly upgrading the roster. However, an intriguing option has become available to the team in recent weeks. Kyrie Irving appears to be done with the Brooklyn Nets and the team would like to move him.

He’s interested in the Lakers and the team is interested in him. There aren’t any other teams around the NBA that want the guard. What makes things difficult is that Los Angeles doesn’t have good assets to offer the Nets. If a deal is going to happen, the Lakers may need a third team to get involved. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report detailed a scenario where the San Antonio Spurs could help Los Angeles out:

The 2023 draft class, headlined by French prospect Victor Wembanyama, may be worth the Spurs’ change of direction. If so, taking Westbrook’s salary for draft considerations might hold some appeal.

The Nets could use a starting center like Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs, plus a $27.5 million trade exception. San Antonio would likely need to send one of Doug McDermott or Josh Richardson to either Los Angeles or Brooklyn. Along with Irving, the Lakers could take both McDermott and Richardson—but not without sending out additional salary like Kendrick Nunn, Horton-Tucker or others.

Perhaps Poeltl reduces the Nets’ demand from the Lakers for Irving. Los Angeles may be open to giving up one first, but two may scuttle its interest. The Spurs, however, would need to be adequately compensated. Giving up Poeltl (if he’s even available) while taking on Westbrook (to buy out) may be a big ask.

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Would Spurs Ever Help Lakers?

It’s a new era for the Spurs as they traded away All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks. That signals that it’s rebuilding time for San Antonio. Since they are rebuilding, the team can take on some bad contracts and accumulate draft picks in the process. The Lakers could offer draft picks if the Spurs help them.

That said, it’s no secret that head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t like helping out Los Angeles. The two teams have had a fierce rivalry over the years. Despite being 73 years old, Popovich plans to stick around for part of the rebuild. It’s hard to imagine that he’d willingly help the Lakers land Irving but the Spurs front office might overrule him considering he’s the team is far away from being good.

Momentum Growing That Irving Is a Laker

Whether they like it or not, the Nets might have to make a deal they don’t like just to get off Irving. With Kevin Durant requesting a trade, Brooklyn might need to consider building around Ben Simmons and whatever assets they get in a trade. Irving only has one year left on his contract so the Nets have very little leverage.

Chances are growing each day that Irving ends up in Los Angeles. It’s not what anybody expected heading into the offseason but it’s clear the situation in Brooklyn isn’t going to work. With nobody else wanting Irving, the Lakers surprisingly have some leverage in this situation.

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