NBA

Lakers trade rumours: Kyrie Irving deal remains top priority for Los Angeles

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While the likelihood of Kyrie Irving being traded to the Lakers was considered “extremely likely” at the time of the initial news of Kevin Durant asking for a trade during the first weekend of NBA free agency, the general mood on the probability of this move at this current time ranges from “Hey, maybe” to “Increasingly unlikely”.

Those vibes were covered in our latest rumor roundup, which included the fact that recent talks between the Lakers and the Nets stalled as the Lakers continued to resist the attachment of multiple first-round picks. to the deal as the Nets focused on the KD. negotiations.

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The above two points have been nauseatingly reported by every reporter with a working phone at this point, with a new point coming close to the above two in terms of the number of times it was declared. This information is that the Lakers probably have a “Plan B” or even a “Plan C” if their pursuit of Kyrie Irving does not work out.

Although ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted below that trade talks around Irving aren’t “completely dead,” he brought up names like Eric Gordon or Buddy Hield saying he thinks the Lakers will do at least exchanges this summer, even if it’s not one. for Irving.

But don’t start thinking that the Lakers aren’t entirely on board with LeBron James on putting Kyrie in the purple and gold just because they’ve put in some safety nets. NBA Insider Marc Stein made it clear in his latest Substack that they still want Irving first and foremost above any other moves they might make this summer.

The Lakers’ preferred scenario, to be clear, is still trading for Irving, but the Nets A) appear focused on completing a Durant trade before pushing for Irving’s exit and B) have expressed great reluctance to regarding any trade with the Lakers. t involve a third team willing to accept Westbrook’s contract (which Brooklyn does not want). As my Bleacher Report colleague Jake Fischer recently reported on his “Please Don’t Aggregate This” live audio show, Utah is another team seen by some league executives as a potential business partner. of Westbrook if – SI – Utah makes a successful Mitchell trade.

Stein actually brought up a specific scenario that one of his sources theorized about as an option. He’s clearly a speculator, but his educated speculations that always seemed worth sharing:

It’s been written on this Substack for months that the Lakers don’t want to tie future first-round picks to a Russell Westbrook trade just to make it easier for Westbrook to leave…but also that the Lakers are reluctant to take back the long-term salary which hampers future flexibility. Still, a league source advised me in Las Vegas to keep an eye out for the Knicks and Lakers discussing a possible deal with Westbrook if — IF — Leon Rose can successfully bring Donovan Mitchell to Madison Square Garden. Source’s thought: After adding Mitchell, New York should explore scenarios to trade Julius Randle. And Randle, just a season away from breaking into All-Star and All-NBA status, is probably the kind of player the Lakers should consider taking if – IF – they can’t use the expiring 47.1 contract. million dollars from Westbrook in a trade for Kyrie Irving. Randle, 27, is entering the first year of a four-year contract with the Knicks worth $117 million ($106 million guaranteed) and, of course, has played his first four NBA seasons with the Lakers. .

And while that’s just one of Stein’s sources taking an educated guess, it now includes the Knicks on a short list of teams (with the oft-mentioned Spurs and Pacers also included) who could possibly be a third team in a hypothetical trade that would see Russell Westbrook leave the Lakers with Irving in his place.

A return of Julius Randle to LA after his departure would be quite the new subplot in this Lakers drama that continues to get juicier by the day. Is it realistic? I guess it all hinges on the Knicks’ willingness to help both sides following a blockbuster deal to land Donovan Mitchell. Would Randle be a good fit at this point alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis? That’s probably a better question, and given how hard it is to answer, I guess it would be “Plan D” for the team if it’s even part of their plans.

But the Randle and the Knicks of it all are irrelevant. The Lakers still want Irving. Will that get them to provide the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks as part of a deal to satisfy the Nets’ demands? Will it even matter at this point if the Lakers can’t find a third team to divert Russ from Brooklyn to [INSERT THIRD TEAM CITY HERE]?

And while the Lakers’ Big Three recently had a very believable and productive conversation over the phone, fans shouldn’t panic and assume that means they’re reviving it. Stein’s reporting shows that even though LeBron and Russ reconciled out of nowhere, the organization is still ready to get rid of him, at least if it means Irving replacing him in the Big Three.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed at itunes, Spotify, embroiderer Where Google Podcasts. You can follow Donny on Twitter at @donny_mchenry.

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