Most of the big offseason moves throughout the NBA have already been made, but the Los Angeles Lakers remain right in the middle of the potential big deals still to come. The team has been linked to Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving for quite some time, but the two sides have yet to come to an agreement on a trade for the All-Star.
While everything seems to be riding on a potential Irving trade for the Lakers, Rob Pelinka and the front office seem to be preparing themselves for the idea that it won’t happen, and thus are lining up potential backup deals.
In an appearance on “Get Up,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned the likes of Eric Gordon, Buddy Hield and Patrick Beverley as players the Lakers could look towards if the Irving deal doesn’t happen, but also added that the Irving trade isn’t dead just yet:
“I think the Lakers will make a deal, maybe more than one deal. It may not be for Kyrie Irving, it may not be for an All-NBA player, an All-Star. But players like Eric Gordon in Houston, Buddy Hield in Indiana, players like Patrick Beverley, who came to the Jazz in a trade from Minnesota, who are role players on winning teams. What is the price for those kind of moves? I think they’re gonna continue to be active on all those things. It’s not completely dead with Brooklyn, but I think so much depends on what happens with Kevin Durant. The Nets are more focused on trying to find a deal for KD before they would even move Kyrie Irving. And I think there’s a good chance Kyrie Irving is back in Brooklyn to start the season if Kevin Durant is back in Brooklyn. But I don’t think the Lakers are done, I think they’re trying t find deals that allow them to improve without gassing all their assets. I think teams feel like when LeBron is putting pressure on the front office, on the organization, teams are asking for a lot to do a deal with the Lakers. Rob Pelinka is trying to keep from trading the 2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks that obviously LeBron James doesn’t value greatly because he may not be around, or again, he wants to win now and that’s the balance of being in the front office vs. having to serve the fact that you got LeBron James still playing at an incredibly high level at an age we’ve never seen people play at before and you hope you have a healthy Anthony Davis back.”
All three players make sense as potential trade targets for the Lakers as they would add something the Lakers sorely need. In the case of Hield and Gordon, both of whom the Lakers have been linked to in the past, that would be perimeter shooting as both are elite 3-point shooters. Hield is a career 39.8% 3-point shooter, while Gordon knocked down over 41% from deep last season.
On the other hand, Beverley is more known for his defense and being an agitator, but he could also potentially help the team’s shooting as well. He is a three-time All-Defensive Team selection in his career and though he had a down year from deep last season, Beverley shot at least 38% from 3-point range in each of the prior six seasons before that.
Irving remains the top goal for the Lakers as he would raise the team’s ceiling the most without a doubt. But if they can’t figure that deal out, landing a player or two in the Hield, Gordon, or Beverley mold would be the perfect secondary option.
LeBron James says he is 100% healthy
Of course, any trade the Lakers make means nothing if the team’s superstars aren’t healthy and can’t stay on the court. LeBron James dealt with an ankle issue for much of last season, but that looks to be in the past now.
In the midst of his 42-point outing at the Drew League, LeBron told ESPN that he is 100% healthy. While it may have simply been an exhibition at The Drew, James certainly looked every bit the player he has been, which is great to see for the Lakers.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!