The Lakers have made it very clear that they’re in “win-now” mode, and their two-year extension of LeBron James cemented that status for the historically dominant franchise.
Now, as it stands the Lakers aren’t necessarily in top form to win now, but in order to change that they won’t spare any expense, including flipping any remaining valuable assets to obtain Kyrie Irving.
According to multiple sources, the Lakers have made both future draft picks (2027, 2029) available for trade in a deal for Kyrie Irving.
The 30-year-old scoring machine opted into his one-year extension with the Nets over this summer, reaffirming his commitment to Brooklyn.
But with the status of his potential max four-year contract up in the air right now, and co-star Kevin Durant seemingly doing everything he can to force his way out of Brooklyn, it’s only a matter of time before Kyrie is out the door as well.
Interestingly enough, the Nets were more keen on moving on from Irving than Durant, but if Durant does leave Brooklyn, they will have to scrap all assets to start a rebuild, which would more than likely include flipping Irving.
Meanwhile the Lakers, who just a few weeks ago showed a public display of commitment to current point guard Russell Westbrook via Coach Darvin Ham explaining a plan for the triple-double machine’s usage, are now doing almost anything they can to dump the 33-year-old’s massive contract. This includes now making their 2027, and 2029 first-round picks available for trade.
Once upon a time these picks were being kept in a heavily guarded vault and weren’t going to be used until it was time to pick some talent five to seven years from now or trade for their next franchise superstar. But in order to persuade a team to accept Westbrook’s contract, they would have to bundle one or both of the picks as compensation.
While Westbrook is extremely expendable for the right players, the main player they’re targeting is Kyrie Irving. The Lakers have been trying to acquire Irving since the beginning of the offseason, and while deals may have been in talks, nothing has happened by this point.
But with the offseason coming to an end and the NBA season gearing up for action in two months, the Lakers who have the services of LeBron James all the way up until the 2024 season, want to make those years count.
This is a dangerous game Los Angeles is playing, because championships aren’t guaranteed even if they did acquire Irving. The team is willing to sacrifice all of their future assets in order to capitalize on the starpower they possess at this moment in time.
It is assumed around the league that these future Lakers picks will be very valuable down the line due to the assumption that with LeBron more than likely gone by 2027. Which probably means the Lakers will be pretty bad.
Even though the Lakers are willing to trade these valuable picks, the Nets want a “win-now” player and aren’t willing to just settle for future picks for Irving, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.
In other words, the Nets don’t see a Westbrook-Irving swap with two future picks being exceptional compensation.
Unfortunately the only other “win-now” players the Lakers have are James and Anthony Davis, and it’s safe to say they’re untouchable.
So unless the Lakers can pull something off to make that trade happen, they will either have to add in more assets like young players, or quality role players to try and “sweeten” the deal. If that doesn’t work they’re either going to have to try something around the trade deadline if the Nets aren’t where they expected to be at midway or try to get him in free agency next year.