As currently constructed, the Los Angeles Lakers do not project to be title contenders during the 2022-23 season.
Russell Westbrook’s future with the Lakers seems like it’s coming to an end, but so far, teams have been unwilling to deal for the guard unless the Lakers attach multiple draft picks. Plan A for Los Angeles is reportedly trading for Kyrie Irving, but the Brooklyn Nets have been insistent on them including at least one first and a second-round pick in any potential deal.
Irving would be a massive upgrade over Westbrook because of his ability to shoot and score the basketball while also making for a much cleaner fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Although there are concerns about Irving’s availability and injury history, there’s no question he’s one of the best players in the league.
The Nets All-Star has a wide range of moves to pull from when attacking defenses, something Los Angeles Laker legend Kobe Bryant was well aware of. In fact, Irving posted a video of Bryant praising his shooting ability, via his Twitter account:
— A11Even (@KyrieIrving) July 30, 2022
As Bryant notes throughout the video, Irving is able to break down defenses in a multitude of ways and give himself options at every level of the floor. Irving is able to knock down pull-up jumpers from deep, stop on a dime in the midrange, or cross over his defender all the way to the basket.
When it comes to scoring the basketball, there aren’t many players who are at Irving’s level, which is why the Lakers should try and do everything in their power to acquire him. Turning Westbrook into Irving is probably the best shot the Purple and Gold have at making another title run, but with the Kevin Durant saga still ongoing, it could be a while before a deal is materialized.
Lakers re-engage with Pacers as Kyrie Irving talks stall
The Nets and Lakers have had preliminary talks on a potential Westbrook-Irving swap, but as of recently, L.A. has also been in contact with the Indiana Pacers on a Buddy Hield and Myles Turner trade. As of now, it seems there is no traction on an Irving deal, though that can obviously change if Durant is eventually moved.
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