While the annual NBA Summer League in Las Vegas provides an opportunity for young prospects to showcase their skills, it also serves as a time for players, coaches and executives across the league to meet and network during the offseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers have already made a number of free-agent signings, but vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka recently let it be known that they are not done yet.
The best and more realistic way the Lakers can improve their roster is to acquire Kyrie Irving as the Brooklyn Nets are expected to trade the star point guard after Kevin Durant requested a trade earlier in the offseason.
Given Irving’s past history and reports that he would only want to play for the Lakers, there seems to be motivation from both sides to get a deal done once Durant’s situation gets solved.
Pelinka and Nets general manager Sean Marks reportedly met at the NBA Combine, and the expectation was that Summer League would be an opportunity for them to meet again to talk about potential deals.
While a trade doesn’t seem to be on the horizon just yet, Pelinka and Marks did get a chance to meet and talk, albeit in a very public setting at Thomas & Mack Center during one of the Summer League games on Saturday, via Clutch Points:
Nets’ GM Sean Marks is now talking to Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka.
There’s been numerous rumors since Kevin Durant’s trade request that a Kyrie Irving-Russell Westbrook trade has been discussed 👀 pic.twitter.com/CZOhR53a3v
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 9, 2022
Not only were Pelinka and Marks chatting it up, but perhaps the subject of the conversation was in the arena as well:
🚨 Kyrie Irving has entered the building.
He gives Jerry West a handshake as he walks in. pic.twitter.com/9Mw0jqbmpU
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 10, 2022
This comes on the heels of the Lakers’ Summer League loss on Friday night in which current L.A. stars LeBron James and Russell Westbrook were in attendance but sat on opposite ends of the court and didn’t acknowledge each other. All of the other Lakers players in attendance, including Talen Horton-Tucker, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Wenyen Gabrielk all went and embraced James at halftime, as did Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, Darvin Ham and Phil Handy after the first quarter.
Recent reports have indicated that James is pushing for the Lakers to acquire Irving, which would mean that Westbrook would have to be part of the deal for salary matching purposes.
While it’s unlikely that Pelinka and Marks were having serious trade discussions in the middle of the arena during a Summer League game, it is good to see that they maintain a strong relationship, which could eventually lead to a deal getting done.
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