Arguably the Los Angeles Lakers’ best chance at becoming championship contenders went out the door on Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks.
All along, the Nets seemed to be prioritizing win-now pieces for Irving so they can continue competing with Kevin Durant though. With that being the case, the Lakers’ package surrounding Russell Westbrook didn’t seem to make much sense, likely requiring a third team to get a deal done.
So even though it’s disappointing from a basketball perspective that the Lakers were not able to land Irving, it doesn’t look like there was much else that could’ve been done to make a deal happen.
According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the Lakers offered both of their available first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 but the Nets still preferred the Mavericks’ offer:
Sources: Brooklyn Nets received Los Angeles Lakers’ proposal that did include team’s two first-round picks (2027, 2029) and Phoenix Suns’ offer of Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and unspecified picks: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/cJuABbaYGy
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 6, 2023
Part of the reason that the Nets sent Irving to Dallas was because of Brooklyn owner Joe Tsai’s desire to not send the point guard to his preferred destination, which was the Lakers according to NBA insider Marc Stein:
The Nets, rather than trading with Phoenix or the Lakers, ultimately came away with the two Mavericks they wanted most and a better win-now duo than L.A. could offer: Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith. The Nets also succeeded, as one source close to the process put it, in meeting one of the presumed objectives held by team owner Joe Tsai by sending Irving somewhere other than the Lakers — his preferred destination.
The Lakers could have also added Austin Reaves and Max Christie to their offer, which they reportedly were unwilling to do. Maybe that would have gotten the Nets to change their mind, or maybe Tsai and the front office were set on not sending Irving to L.A. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Nets were asking for the two young players and pick swaps in addition to the first-round picks:
The Lakers offered the Nets a package of Westbrook and two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 for Irving in the last two days, sources with knowledge of the discussions said — to which the Nets informed the Lakers that in order to make an offer to get in the Irving sweepstakes they would require all of their young players such as Austin Reaves and Max Christie and pick swaps in addition to Westbrook and the two first-round picks.
The good news for the Lakers is that this all happened days before the deadline, so they still have time to regroup and find another deal if they are willing to trade their future first-round picks.
Rob Pelinka has maintained all along that he is willing to trade the picks if it elevates the Lakers to championship contender status. Outside of Irving though, which is now off the table, it will be interesting to see if there is a deal out there that fits that description for L.A.
Lakers’ still talking with Jazz?
One other option for the Lakers that has emerged in recent days is the Utah Jazz, who could have interest in taking of Westbrook’s expiring contract. If the Lakers were to complete a deal with Utah, it would likely include Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt.
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!