As the days continue to pass, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in the same spot they’ve been in since free agency began.
The Lakers, as presently constructed, don’t profile as a title-contending team even with a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The organization is aware of their situation as they’ve discussed trades with several teams, but none have come to fruition as Kevin Durant’s trade request looms over any and all negotiations.
Los Angeles has been pegged as the most likely landing spot for Kyrie Irving should the Brooklyn Nets decide to move him, but so far the two sides haven’t been able to find any traction on a trade. The Lakers reportedly have softened their stance on potentially trading both of their first-round picks for Irving, but Brooklyn seems intent on figuring out what to do with Durant first.
Outside of Irving, deals with teams like the Indiana Pacers have gained steam but Los Angeles apparently has other options should those talks fall through, via Dan Woike of L.A. Times:
If and when Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell get traded, the space to make a Westbrook trade probably opens a little wider with the costs getting cleared. Lakers sources insist they have options beyond the ones that have been reported (Irving, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and others). Time should better reveal those once the bigger moves get made.
Besides the Nets and Pacers, the Lakers have also been linked to the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz for potential trades. In any scenario, Russell Westbrook would be bought out with Los Angeles taking back longer-term salary.
As of now, it’s difficult to come up with additional trade partners for the Lakers given the dollar amount on Westbrook’s deal but perhaps they’d have more suitors if they’re willing to part with more draft compensation. The more likely scenario is that they end up executing one of the previously reported deals, but only time will tell what direction they go in.
Rob Pelinka vowed he would use all resources to improve roster
The Lakers have limited assets to make trades with any team, especially with Westbrook being owed so much money for the 2022-23 season. The best bargaining chips are their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, but so far Rob Pelinka has been unwilling to part with both of them in a trade.
However, in a meeting with LeBron James, he vowed to use all of the team’s resources to improve the roster and help them compete for a title this year.
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