There don’t appear to be any other All-Star level talents available for what L.A. has to offer, so Goon believes the options now involve role players such as Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley from the Jazz, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott from the Spurs or possibly Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and Mason Plumlee from the Hornets.
The Lakers are also in a difficult situation because the player they most want to part with, Russell Westbrook, has a contract that will likely require three or four players in return to match salaries, Goon adds. Utah, Charlotte and San Antonio may not be interested in making such a complex deal when there are simpler options with other teams.
Last month’s acquisition of Rui Hachimura — and the likelihood of a new contract this summer — will cut into L.A.’s projected cap room. A rival executive told Goon that the Lakers want to limit this year’s hit on their repeater tax, which also reduces their options in the trade market.
There’s more on the Lakers:
- Although Westbrook has been better this season, teams remain reluctant to take on his $47.1MM contract, Goon adds. The same executive says potential trade partners still want at least one future unprotected first-round pick attached in any Westbrook deal. Goon also speculates that the Lakers’ interest in Irving may have opened old wounds with Westbrook that could affect locker room chemistry if he remains with the team.
- The Lakers received permission from the Nets to talk to Irving’s representatives when he was pondering his player option last summer, but they didn’t follow up, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Even though L.A. appeared to be the most likely trade partner at the time, Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, never heard from any member of the team’s front office. Buha’s sources say the Nets informed the Lakers that they wouldn’t have accepted Westbrook in an Irving deal, so his only path to L.A. was to decline the option and sign for the mid-level exception, which the Lakers didn’t believe he would do. L.A. reportedly tried again in early July and during Summer League, but Brooklyn wasn’t interested in dealing Irving at the time.
- Austin Reaves talks about the difficulty of breaking into the NBA as an undrafted free agent during an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.