September 30, 2022

Before NBA free agency could bring any kind of excitement, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets provided all the fireworks we could ask for, with his trade demand turning the franchise — and the league — upside down. on his head. One of the biggest repercussions of the move was the rebirth of Kyrie Irving’s possibility at the Lakers, a move that seemed dead in the water earlier this week after he opted into the final year of his contract.

So as free agency played out and the Lakers signed Lonnie Walker IV and Damian Jones and Juan Tuscano-Anderson, it was all done with Kyrie hanging above them in the background.

What are the chances the Lakers and Kyrie will be together at the end of the offseason? Let’s take a look at the latest reports and rumours.

Kyrie in LA is alive and roaring

After Durant’s trade request, the Nets opened the door to moving all players, including Kyrie. With the Lakers one of the only teams willing to put up with his nonsense, to be frank, a trade package centered on Russell Westbrook quickly became much more of an option, as reported by Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of Athleticism.

Yet now that Durant has officially requested a trade, a natural next question has arisen: Does that mean the possibility of Irving reuniting with LeBron James and the Lakers is alive again?

Yes. Absolutely.

A source close to the situation indicated as a result of Durant’s trade request, and it makes perfect sense that Durant’s decision would boost the Lakers’ chances here. As The Athletic reported Monday, Irving was hyper-focused on landing with the Lakers in the days and weeks leading up to his decision to join.

Suddenly, a trade package that seemed inadequate centered on Westbrook now feels much closer, with the Nets no longer looking to build a title contender.

Westbrook’s expiring deal is much more attractive now, and assuming they can provide enough assets around him in the form of draft picks, prospects, or players from separate teams, that might be enough to do. pass Irving in purple and gold, especially if it’s a move he’s pushing for.

Anthony Davis remains

The storyline added to the Nets trade drama for the Lakers was the possibility of Durant and Irving coming to Los Angeles. To do that, an Anthony Davis-centric package would have to be offered, but that looks like a non-starter for the Lakers, also according to Amick and Buha.

As for the prospect of the Lakers trying to get into the Durant contest themselves, perhaps making Davis available in the process, a source familiar with the matter put the odds at “zero.” They are focused, it seems, on Irving. And vice versa.

There is a human element that is often overlooked when talking about these types of jobs. One for one, swapping AD for KD could be an intriguing deal. But fellow Klutch client LeBron James isn’t going to ship the man he fought so hard to get to Los Angeles, nor is general manager Rob Pelinka going to deal with the player who played such a big part in winning the franchise title.

The Lakers are not Danny Ainge and the Celtics. What happens off the basketball court matters to them. Like it should be.

The search for the shot

The common theme among Lakers signings so far this offseason is a complete lack of reliable outside shooting. Although they’ve gotten much younger, they haven’t added any kind of reliable 3-point shooting.

With two spots remaining on the roster, the Lakers plan to look to shoot in the final slots, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

The Lakers’ next priority as the offseason unfolds is to tackle their outside shooting, sources told ESPN. LA ranked 22nd in the league in 3-point shooting last season, hitting just 34.7% of its team attempts.

There are few names left on the open market who could be both a shooter and playable as more than a specialist – indeed more than Wayne Ellington last year – and those who are probably not available for the minimum of veterans that the Lakers can offer. .

The catch may be in a potential Kyrie trade. Trading Russ for Kyrie doesn’t work out financially because Brooklyn would have to offer more to make the deal work. Maybe a Joe Harris or Seth Curry could pique the Lakers’ interest and solve several problems at once.

McMenamin himself has suggested on TV that Irving could potentially fill the void there.

Speaking of shooting, one of the team’s best shooters left in Malik Monk to join the Kings. After publicly stating he would get a cut to stay with the Lakers, he reportedly turned down the team’s mid-level taxpayer exception offer to go to the Kings, as also reported by McMenamin.

LA initially offered Malik Monk the Mid-Tier Taxpayer Exception before turning their attention to Walker after Monk accepted the full Mid-Tier Exception on a two-year, $19 million contract with the Kings, sources told ESPN.

Look, I would never criticize anyone for securing the bag. But to say you’d take less and not do it is to open yourself up to criticism, whether it’s fair or not.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed at itunes, Spotify, embroiderer Where Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.