It is approaching day 20 of the Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors with no end in sight.
Las Vegas will be the sight of not just gambling and Summer League this weekend, but reportedly further negotiating between Rob Pelinka and Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks. The Nets are in no hurry to move Irving — finding a partner to trade Kevin Durant is more of a priority now — but the San Antonio Spurs could be the team that makes it all work.
It was reported earlier this week the Spurs could help finalize the trade as a third team willing to take on Russell Westbrook’s salary if incentivized. The Nets have made their disinterest in acquiring Westbrook in a deal quite clear. Therefore, having San Antonio swoop in to take on the former MVP could be crucial to bringing Irving to L.A.
After trading Derrick White during the season and Dejounte Murray recently, San Antonio is fully committed to a rebuild. The Spurs have made veterans Jakob Poetl, Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson available in deals.
If the Irving trade expands to three teams, the Lakers, however, prefer one veteran over the other, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
That could expand to include both Richardson and McDermott to Los Angeles, provided L.A. included either Kendrick Nunn or Talen Horton Tucker. The Lakers would have more interest in Richardson than McDermott.
While Richardson is the less consistent shooter compared to McDermott, it seems to not make a difference for the Lakers. They continue to prioritize expiring contracts in negotiations. Richardson has an expiring $12.2 million contract, while McDermott has two years left on a $27.5 million deal.
Yahoo Sports reported last week that L.A. preferred Seth Curry’s expiring deal rather than Joe Harris’ $38 million deal over two years. The cap space after this season would align with not only Irving’s expiring contract but LeBron James’ as well.
James, however, is eligible to sign an extension on August 4.
Including Nunn or Horton Tucker in the deal is also more a matter of making the money work, rather than interest in either player.
With the summer dragging on, the Lakers might have to bite the bullet and take on whatever player will make the deal work.
Darvin Ham expects Russell Westbrook to be in the 2022-23 starting lineup
Even with all the chatter of a trade, new head coach Darvin Ham still plans on starting Russell Westbrook this upcoming season. Ham highlighted that Westbrook was counted out prematurely and the two have had “some great interactions.”
There were discussions of benching Westbrook last season due to his poor play. Nothing came to fruition and Ham doesn’t expect to do the same next season if Westbrook is still a Laker.
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