NBA teams can finally move on with the rest of the offseason after the Brooklyn Nets announced that they and Kevin Durant have agreed to continue their partnership.
Since the beginning of July, the Nets were listening to offers on Durant after he requested a trade which put a freeze on any moves teams could make. However, with clarity on the situation, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers can pivot to other options.
The Lakers were most affected by the news as it seemingly dashes their hopes of landing Kyrie Irving. With Irving presumably off the table, Los Angeles can turn their attention elsewhere to acquire help via trade.
One team they’ve been linked to recently is the New York Knicks, who are in the midst of trying to acquire another All-Star player in Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. However, the Lakers are reportedly unwilling to take back Julius Randle in any potential deals, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
The Lakers aren’t interested in taking back Julius Randle from the Knicks, considering his contract (three years plus a player option on the fourth year) and less-than-ideal fit with Davis and James.
New York is expected to offload Randle and the remaining years on his contract if they are able to land Mitchell, making L.A. a logical trade partner as they look to rid themselves of Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook’s $47 million on the final year of his deal has made it difficult for the Lakers to find a team willing to take him on without sacrificing draft equity, but the Knicks might be interested if the former is OK taking back Randle.
However, the Lakers made a concerted effort to keep their cap sheet for 2023 as clean as possible, so taking back Randle would be counterproductive. Other trade packages like the Indiana Pacers and Jazz exist, so it’s perhaps more likely that L.A. explores those options before seriously considering changing their stance on Randle.
Patrick Beverley, Bojan Bogdanovic players to keep eye on for Laker trade talks
Aside from the widely-reported Pacers deal involving Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, the Lakers have also been linked to the Jazz, who appear ready to rebuild. The Jazz have several veterans on expiring deals they could trade away for assets, but the two names to look out for are Patrick Beverley and Bojan Bogdanovic.
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