The Los Angeles Lakers did a good job in the first hours of free agency, bringing in young versatile defenders in a clear U-turn on last summer’s strategy.
The Lakers entered the 2021-22 season with the older roster in the NBA. This year, they started their offseason business by signing Damian Jones, Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr. and Juan Toscano-Anderson — the former Golden State Warrior wing being the oldest player of the group at 29.
L.A. has added athleticism to the team but still lacks outside shooting, particularly after Malik Monk left the Purple and Gold to sign with the Sacramento Kings. However, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin says the Lakers’ front office believes it can find sharpshooters through trade — with signing Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving remaining their priority:
So this first wave of names are not gonna bowl you over: Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr., Lonnie Walker IV. But these are young switchable defenders, they will be able to bring some degree of athleticism they were missing from this type of role players last year. The next step in what could be a five-step offseason process is to find shooting — and they believe they can find shooting via trade, Kyrie Irving being the No. 1 target.
Rumors of Irving forcing his move to L.A. resurfaced on Thursday afternoon after it emerged Kevin Durant reportedly requested a trade away from Brooklyn. Brian Windhorst even claimed the Lakers might try to talk the Nets into sending them both Irving and Durant in a historic deal that would likely have to include both Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis.
While that seems unlikely, perhaps L.A. could target one of Brooklyn’s other shooters like Seth Curry or Joe Harris in an Irving trade. As far as who the Lakers would be giving up, Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn are all candidates to be sent back to the Nets or elsewhere if it’s a three-team deal.
Irving reportedly ‘telling everybody’ he will join Lakers next summer
Irving seems to be trying to force his way out of Brooklyn by limiting the interest of other teams in signing the 30-year-old playmaker this summer. Rumors claim the guard has been vocal about his desire to join the Lakers next year when he will hit free agency.
Irving reportedly says he wants to put on the same uniform the late Kobe Bryant once wore.
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