The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets earlier this month.
In the days since, one question has persisted: how does this group get better next season?
LeBron James has made it no secret that he wants the team to upgrade at point guard. He no longer wants to be the primary ball-handler, and he has lost faith in D’Angelo Russell.
The two players that have been most closely linked to the Lakers in recent weeks are Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. James has made his preference out of those two clear.
This week, in a conversation with Heavy Sports, one Western Conference GM suggested that L.A.’s interest in adding Irving was lukewarm at best at the moment.
“There’s not an overwhelming sentiment from them like, ‘We gotta go get Kyrie.’ It’s just LeBron,” he said.
Interestingly enough, this aligns a bit with what occurred at the NBA Trade Deadline. The Lakers were obviously very interested in prying Irving away from the Brooklyn Nets at the time, but only up to a certain point.
When that point came and went, Rob Pelinka took a step back.
Los Angeles’ front office’s position seems to have remain unchanged. They would accept Irving if the right situation came along, but they won’t go crazy to add him.
James is the only one who seems to disagree with that path forward at the moment.
Irving averaged 27 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists over the course of 20 outings for the Mavericks last season. While his skillset is undeniable, he is a mercurial and unreliable personality.
In many ways, adding Irving would be the ultimate high-risk, high-reward move for L.A.
As things presently stand, this is shaping up to be a colorful offseason for the Lakers. There are two teams out there interested in stealing Russell from them. There are there three squads trying to pry Rui Hachimura away from them.
And of course, three teams are trying to get Austin Reaves off the Lakers and into their uniform.
What a weekend for Zach Wilson.https://t.co/WWLpo3keVF
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 31, 2023
Mix in this drama surrounding Irving, and you can see why this promises to be a hectic next for months for L.A.
Will Irving ultimately be a member of the Lakers come the beginning of the 2023-24 NBA season? Time will tell.