Will Lakers trade Russell Westbrook, first-rounders for Kyrie Irving?
Kyrie Irving asked the Brooklyn Nets to move him prior to next Thursday’s trade deadline, and the Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams interested in trading for the eight-time All-Star. However, the Lakers have only two first-round picks for the remainder of the decade.
“The framework of a potential deal would be Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks — with the Lakers pushing to add lottery protection to at least one of them — in exchange for Irving and another Nets role player [likely Joe Harris], according to those sources,” reports Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
According to a few NBA betting sites, the Lakers have eighth-best odds to win the championship. Some sportsbooks are showing greater odds for the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Golden State Warriors.
Potential three-team framework: Kyrie Irving & Joe Harris to Lakers, Russell Westbrook & pick(s) to Spurs, & picks to Nets. Spurs would need to send Nets $20 million in salaries to fit Westbrook, but Nets would generate a $36.9M TPE & nearly wipe out their $108M luxury tax bill. https://t.co/fn7bFMHGH9
— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) February 4, 2023
Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka will surrender Westbrook and two first-rounders for Irving and at least one role player. Not only would Los Angeles lose negotiating leverage for the coming seasons, but the team would also have to take on Irving’s next contract.
“The Lakers position from what I understand is that: they’ve been interested in trading for Kyrie Irving, but they’re not so sure about trading for him and being obligated to give him a $200 million contract at season’s end,” said ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Lakers trading Russell Westbrook and two first-round draft picks to Nets for Kyrie Irving and a role player is unlikely
Westbrook is earning $47,063,478 this season via player option, and Anthony Davis is making $37,980,720 as well. Westbrook’s contract consumes nearly 26% of the Lakers’ salary cap, which leads all other L.A. players. Of course, LeBron James’ salary is $44,474,988.
During the offseason, James signed a two-year, $97.1 million deal. This league-maximum contract made the 20-year veteran the highest-paid player in NBA history. So, this is what Pelinka has to work around.
ESPN Sources: Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has not shared a list of preferred teams, but he has maintained an interest in the Lakers. LA is expected to be among the teams that’ll explore a possible trade with the Nets.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2023
Would the front office consider packaging Austin Reaves and/or Max Christie with Westbrook for protecting one of those picks? There’s a slim chance of that happening. Reaves is averaging career highs of 10.8 points, 2.2 assists, and 28.9 minutes per game through 36 appearances this season.
“Protecting one of those picks could result in the Nets asking for the Lakers to perhaps include Austin Reaves or Max Christie, two of the Lakers’ promising young role players,” added Buha. “But the Lakers aren’t interested in including either in a potential package, according to those sources.”
Unless Los Angeles is desperate, a Kyrie Irving trade might never happen. It’s too large of a risk. Other teams interested in the Brooklyn guard include the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.
Though, Nets G.M. Sean Marks is asking for Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, per sources. To add to that, Dallas executives are unsure whether or not Iving would get along with Luka Doncic.