D’Angelo Russell looked like a great piece to have long-term for the Los Angeles Lakers after his solid 2022-23 season following the trade deadline.
Russell looked like a natural fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis as a secondary scorer and playmaker, but his postseason run told a different story as he struggled to find a groove. His performance in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets left much to be desired and even led to him being benched in Game 4.
After the guard’s lackluster showing, rumors of the Lakers chasing after Kyrie Irving kicked up again. Russell previously expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles after the rumors came up the first time, but those murmurs have only gotten louder since the end of their playoff run.
In order for Los Angeles to acquire Irving, it would probably need to occur in the form of a sign-and-trade that involves Russell, but it sounds like the Dallas Mavericks aren’t interested in such a deal, via NBA insider Marc Stein:
A popular topic all week, in the wake of Denver sweeping the Lakers out of the Western Conference finals, was the notion that L.A. could emerge as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Dallas’ free agent-to-be Kyrie Irving.
While we await a clear indication about the Lakers’ intentions there, with no verifiable signal to date that pursuing Irving is among their offseason priorities, league sources say that the Mavericks would have no interest in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers that features D’Angelo Russell as the primary Dallas-bound player. All indications are that the Mavericks remain intent on re-signing Irving.
The Mavericks gambled at the deadline when they traded for Irving and after missing the playoffs entirely, they don’t have many options left to build around Luka Doncic. There’s no denying the offensive talent that Irving is, but L.A. should steer clear of a deal considering it would cost them their roster depth.
The most likely scenario is that the Lakers and Russell agree on a modest extension and continue to build on the success they into the 2023-24 campaign.
Fred VanVleet viewed as name to watch in free agency for Lakers
While Irving is the big name that teams will be looking at, Fred VanVleet is another option for point guard-needy teams. VanVleet has a player option he can exercise this summer and there are viable paths to him landing in Los Angeles which has led some to believe he could be a name to watch for the purple and gold.
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