It remains to be seen whether or not the Lakers will be able to work out a trade with the Nets for Kyrie Irving, but Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN believes L.A. has at least one more major roster move up its sleeve this offseason, as he stated on Monday during the network’s latest episode of Get Up (video link).
“I think the Lakers will make a deal. Maybe more than one deal,” Wojnarowski said. “It may not be for Kyrie Irving, it may not be for an All-NBA player, an All-Star. But players like Eric Gordon in Houston, Buddy Hield in Indiana, players like Patrick Beverley, who came to the Jazz in a trade from Minnesota, who are role players are winning teams. What is the price for those kind of moves? I think they’re going to continue to be active on all those things.”
As Wojnarowski explains, the Lakers aren’t eager to part with all of their most valuable trade assets for modest short-term upgrades, but they still feel the need to add more talent to the roster to take advantage of LeBron James‘ remaining prime years.
“When LeBron’s putting pressure on the front office, on the organization, teams are asking for a lot to do a deal with the Lakers,” Wojnarowski said. “Rob Pelinka‘s trying to keep from trading the 2027, 2029 unprotected first-round picks that obviously LeBron James doesn’t value greatly because he may not be around. He wants to win now. That’s the balance of being in the front office vs. having to serve the fact that you’ve got LeBron James still playing at an incredibly high level at an age we’ve never seen a player play at that level.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- A potential trade sending Irving to the Lakers is “not completely dead,” per Wojnarowski, but such a deal still hinges in large part on what the Nets do with Kevin Durant. “The Nets are more focused on trying to find a deal for KD before they would even move Kyrie Irving,” Woj said. “I think there’s a good chance that Kyrie Irving is back in Brooklyn to start the season if Kevin Durant is back in Brooklyn.”
- Russell Westbrook‘s public split with his longtime agent doesn’t bode well for the former MVP’s relationship with the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says that dynamic between Westbrook and the team is becoming “more untenable with each passing week.” League sources tell Buha that the divorce between Westbrook and agent Thad Foucher caught several people around the Lakers by surprise.
- Foucher’s statement, which hinted that Westbrook is seeking another change of scenery, may further hurt the Lakers’ leverage in trade talks, Buha writes. Multiple league sources tell The Athletic that potential trade partners are already asking for at least L.A.’s 2027 or 2029 first-round pick in order to take on Westbrook’s pricey expiring contract.
- Marc Stein says in his latest Substack article that the Knicks and Jazz are viewed by some people around the league as possible landing spots for Westbrook if the two teams complete a Donovan Mitchell trade. Stein explains that the Knicks may be more inclined to trade away Julius Randle and his long-term contract for a big expiring deal like Westbrook’s in that scenario, though it strikes me as a long shot that New York and L.A. would be able to find a mutually beneficial swap involving those two players.