EDIT: Kyrie was traded a few days after this was written. It was also reported the Nets wanted Nets Wanted Russell Westbrook, both First-Round Picks & Swaps, Austin Reaves, Max Christie For Kyrie Irving.
Let me preface this by saying I think Kyrie Irving is overrated as a player, and a distraction to any organization he’s been in the last 5+ years. I still think the Lakers should make the nets an offer. While it’s true they could sign Kyrie in the off-season and not have to give up anything, doing so would mean they couldn’t sign Rui Hachimura which is one of the reasons I hated that trade. It incinerated their cap space for a player I don’t think is very good. Trading for Irving now is how you can pay both if you don’t get cheap.
More importantly, this year is the window with Anthony Davis playing like a top 5 player again earlier in the season and then dodging at the significant injury. He’s back upright and playing. LeBron is defying age averaging 30ppg at 38 years old. Now is the time to go for it if there ever was. You can’t wait on next year. This is why you brought LeBron to Los Angeles and traded your future already for Anthony Davis. Drafting a player that truly matters is so against the odds anyway that especially for someone like the Lakers it almost shouldn’t matter. Players want to and will always want to play in Los Angeles. If this were OKC or Cleveland maybe you have a harder time, but the rules should be different for LA, especially when you have two top 10 type of players.LeBron is still great right now, but he will decline, and Davis is one of the bigger injury risk. You knew this when you got them. You need to capitalize now.
I do believe the Lakers or anytime trying to trade for Kyrie is going to have to bring a big offer. The Net’s are a capable contender with him. Certainly they don’t want to lose him for nothing, but they aren’t going to trade him for nothing either when they could just play it out. That has been their motto since Kevin Durant requested a trade. Wow us or we’ll play it out and see what happens. I thought they should blow it up earlier in the season but now this seems like the correct stance. After the Kyrie documentary drama, he’s stayed out of the spotlight more and the team won some. That at least proves he knows when to shut up and keep his head low at least until he can get paid. For the Lakers, this is important because he seems to want to play in LA, and there is an incentive to keep him in line. LeBron as a former teammate should help with that as well.
This is the trade I think you make. Ben Simmons is the worst contract in the NBA. Getting of that money is for an expiring contract is worth at least a 1st round draft pick itself. Likely two. I can’t see him ever regaining any offense or being worth half that contract at this point. For the Lakers who have such pitiful depth though, he at least can play and try to defend. The Nets are certainly going to ask for the 2027 and 2029 1st. I think you offer the 2027 1st. Taking on Ben Simmons bad money and sending back expiring contracts I believe is how you avoid having to send both. I’d probably draw a line in the sand at his point. If that didn’t work I would send the 2029 but insist on 2027 being heavily protected (you can’t protect 2029 since it has to convert. It’s not ideal but this is what desperate teams that have to win now with 38 year old old stars have to do. It’s the price of business if you are in the winning championships business. The West is wide open right now and this would make the Lakers a contender I believe.
|Lonnie Walker IV|
|Troy Brown Jr.|
That isn’t a bad team. LeBron could guard the PF’s on defense and let Ben Simmons guard more SF’s and help the rebounding. Simmons could take a seat in the last 5 minutes or so if the game was close. There are some pretty solid bench options depending on how the Lakers wanted to match up. Thomas Bryant if they wanted to get bigger, Hachimura who at least isn’t afraid to go to the free throw line. This team should be able to contend and would be built for playoff success.