Kyrie Irving & Fred VanVleet Viewed As Names To Watch For In Free Agency For Lakers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have important decisions to make in free agency with the offseason now underway. Ten players from last season’s roster will be free agents, including playoff rotation guys Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Dennis Schroder, D’Angelo Russell and Lonnie Walker IV.

General manager Rob Pelinka expressed a desire to prioritize roster continuity and keeping the core together this offseason. Whether that actually comes to fruition is one thing, but it’s clear the Lakers have a bigger problem to worry about regarding LeBron James’ possible retirement.

After being eliminated in the Western Conference Finals, the 38-year-old James revealed he is contemplating retirement after his 20th season. It’s no secret that the Lakers’ offseason plans will be flipped upside down if LeBron decides to walk away. His comments could also be a leverage play, pushing the front office to bring another star to take the offensive load off James.

Options are available on the market, specifically at the point guard position with familiar names that can help LeBron. The Athletics’ Shams Charania shared two names that will be high on the list of prospects for the Lakers in Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet, via the Pat McAfee Show:

“But even the bigger point now I think for the Lakers is how do we go into this offseason and manage the workload of LeBron James? Because he’s going in every night, being the number one option. Now I think he can do that at the age of 39. The question is, do the Lakers want to put him in that position? Does he want to be in that position? So they have to really build the roster out this offseason. Point guard position, D’Angelo Russell was benched. He’s on a max contract. He was benched the last game of the season in the playoffs, in Game 4. What do they do at that position? I think they’ll be aggressive potentially when looking at that position. Kyrie Irving’s out there. Fred VanVleet. When you look at the market place this upcoming offseason, I think Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet have to be at the top of the list. I’m not saying either are likely for the Lakers, but I think if you’re the Lakers, you have to look at both of those guys and see if there are any options you can exhaust.”

Irving’s been linked to the Lakers for multiple offseasons and his addition will satisfy LeBron the most. James pushed hard for the front office to acquire Irving during the trade deadline. It didn’t come to fruition but seems to still be on the table.

VanVleet is a newer name attached to the Lakers. He’s coming off his third straight season averaging at least 19 points per game and will likely look for a max deal. VanVleet signed with Klutch Sports in February, the sports agency tycoon operated by Rich Paul, LeBron’s agent. Six players at the end of the Lakers season were represented by Paul, making a move to L.A. reasonable.

The Lakers will likely have to sacrifice a majority of their cap space to sign VanVleet or Irving. It may be difficult to do so especially if L.A. expects to match deals for Reaves and Hachimura. That decision will practically eliminate the possibility of signing either of those guards on a max deal.

The only other solution would be a double sign-and-trade, although that would hard cap the Lakers in 2023-24 and also require either the Dallas Mavericks or Toronto Raptors to take back Russell and other assets from L.A.

Austin Reaves a ‘high-ranking target’ for Rockets

After a breakout sophomore season, Austin Reaves will command a major free agency market. One of the interested teams includes the Houston Rockets. Reaves reportedly is a high-ranking target for the team.

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