Before NBA free agency could bring any excitement, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets provided all the fireworks we could ask for, with their trade request that turned the franchise — and the league — upside down. One of the biggest ripples of that move was the resurgence of Kyrie Irving’s possibility to the Lakers, a move that seemed dead earlier this week after he opted out of the final year of his contract.
So as free agency unfolded and the Lakers signed Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones and Juan Tuscano-Anderson, it was all being done with Kyrie hanging over them in the background.
What are the odds of the Lakers and Kyrie being together at the end of the offseason? Let’s take a look at the latest reports and rumours.
Kyrie to LA is alive and roaring
After Durant’s trade request, the Nets opened the door to move any and all players, including Kyrie. With the Lakers being one of the only teams willing to put up with his nonsense, to be honest, a Russell Westbrook-focused trade package has quickly become a much more important option, as reported by Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of the athletic.
Now that Durant has formally requested a trade, however, the next natural question has arisen: Does this mean the possibility of Irving reuniting with LeBron James and the Lakers is alive again?
Yes a lot.
A source close to the situation indicated it after Durant’s trade request, and it makes a lot of sense that Durant’s decision would increase the Lakers’ odds here. As The Athletic reported Monday, Irving was very focused on landing with the Lakers in the days and weeks leading up to his decision to participate.
Suddenly, a seemingly inappropriate trade package centered on Westbrook now feels that much closer as the Nets no longer look to build a title contender.
Westbrook’s expiring deal is much more attractive now, and assuming they can provide enough assets around him — whether in the form of draft picks, prospects or players from separate teams — it could be enough to turn Irving purple and gold. , especially if it’s a move. he is pressing for.
Anthony Davis stays
The story added to the Nets’ trade drama by the Lakers was the possibility of both Durant and Irving coming to Los Angeles. To do so, an Anthony Davis-centric package would have to be offered, but that sounds like a bust for the Lakers, also according to Amick and Buha.
As for the possibility of the Lakers trying to get into the Durant draft, perhaps making Davis available in the process, a source close to the situation put the chances at “zero.” His focus, it seems, is on Irving. And vice versa.
There is a human element that is often forgotten when talking about these types of operations. One for one, trading AD for KD could be an intriguing deal. But his fellow Klutch client, LeBron James, isn’t going to send the man he fought so hard to get to Los Angeles, nor is general manager Rob Pelinka going to deal with the player who played so well in winning the franchise by a title.
The Lakers are not Danny Ainge and the Celtics. Things off the basketball court matter to them. as it should.
the search for shot
The common theme among Lakers signings so far this offseason is a complete lack of reliable outside shooting. While they got much younger, they didn’t add any sort of reliable 3-point shot.
With two spots remaining on the roster, the Lakers plan to look for shots in the final slots, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
The Lakers’ next priority as the offseason unfolds is addressing their outside shooting, sources told ESPN. LA ranked 22nd in the league in 3-point shooting last season, shooting just 34.7% of his team’s attempts.
There are few names left on the open market who could be both shooters and playable as more than just a specialist (effectively more than Wayne Ellington last year) and those who probably aren’t available for the minimum veteran the Lakers can offer. . .
The catch may be in a potential Kyrie trade. Trading Russ for Kyrie outright doesn’t work out financially, as Brooklyn would have to offer more for the deal to work. Perhaps Joe Harris or Seth Curry could pique the Lakers’ interest and solve multiple problems at once.
McMenamin himself suggested on television that Irving could fill the void there.
Speaking of shooting, one of the best shooters on the team left in Malik Monk to join the Kings. After publicly declaring that he would accept a discount to stay with the Lakers, he allegedly turned down the team’s taxpayer mid-tier waiver offer to go to the Kings, as McMenamin also reported.
LA initially offered Malik Monk the taxpayer midlevel exception before turning its attention to Walker after Monk accepted the full midlevel exception on a two-year, $19 million deal with the Kings, sources told ESPN. .
Look, I’m never going to criticize someone for securing the bag. But to say that it would take less and then not do so is to open yourself up to criticism, fair or dirty.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast at itunes, Spotify, stapler either Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.