The biggest story surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers right now is the team’s pursuit of a Kyrie Irving trade. Los Angeles seems to be the only team that is actually in the market for Irving and at this point, it seems like it is just a matter of time.
The Lakers seemingly do not want to attach a second first-round pick to the trade in order to swap Russell Westbrook for Kyrie. There is also the possibility that Brooklyn wants the Lakers to take back Joe Harris so LA is the team that is taking on more money in the trade.
This is a classic case of NBA teams trying to out-leverage each other. While it seems like Brooklyn is the team that is controlling things, the Lakers are the team that is in control. Why? Brooklyn seemingly wants to get rid of Kyrie Irving at any means necessary and the Lakers likely know that.
In fact, there even seems to be a reality in which the Lakers can obtain Irving without actually trading for him. Yahoo Sports Vincent Goodwin previously discussed the possibility of the Nets simply waiving-and-stretching Irving’s contract, which is something he dove deeper on in the latest episode of the Basketball Illuminati podcast.
This makes it much more likely that the Nets will simply take the Lakers’ best offer of one draft pick, and who knows, perhaps Rob Pelinka could even get protections on the pick or turn it into a pick swap. If Brooklyn is absolutely closing the door on Irving being a Net in the future then they don’t have much leverage in this deal.
If the Lakers were to sign Kyrie Irving, what would happen to Russell Westbrook?
If this were to happen, Irving would likely sign with the Lakers on a minimum deal. He would still be getting his money eventually from the Nets and Pelinka could essentially promise him a big new contract the following season if he plays well in LA this season. Plus, Irving doesn’t have many other options.
This means that the Lakers could take that draft pick that they would have traded for Irving and include it in another Russell Westbrook package. One team that the team has reportedly engaged in discussions with is the Indiana Pacers, with interest in Myles Turner.
If the Lakers are able to sign Irving they could then trade Westbrook and a pick to Indiana for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. They would have to waive a player from the roster to make room, but it should be no problem waiving Wenyen Gabriel to make room for Turner.
Suddenly, LA could run a starting five of Kyrie Irving, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Myles Turner with some pretty decent depth behind them. Defense would be an issue but hey, the team has already committed to that approach.
It is an interesting scenario, to say the least. If LA does manage to get Irving without trading for him it would be a massive win.