Kyrie Irving’s off-the-court antics make him a perfect fit for a dramatic move to the Lakers. The problem is Los Angeles doesn’t have the necessary assets.
The idea of Kyrie Irving playing in Los Angeles is enough to get even casual fans excited about the possibilities. Irving’s mercurial talent would drastically change the ceiling of a Lakers team that desperately needs an infusion of talent. Irving’s off-the-court behavior would also make him one of the most intriguing stars in Tinsel Town.
The problem with this NBA fever dream becoming a reality is that the Lakers can only make the transaction work via a sign-and-trade. The good news, according to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski is that Los Angeles is the only team currently working on such a deal with Brooklyn. The bad news is that the Nets don’t have any interest in the packages the Lakers have floated in discussions to this point.
Kyrie Irving rumors: Lakers fit takes a hit
In fairness, Irving could choose to opt out of his $36 million-plus player option with the Nets and sign for any team in the league. He’d like to move to the Lakers but the best they could potentially offer him would be a mid-level exception. Such a move would cost Irving a fortune in salary this season. It’s also difficult to envision a scenario in which Los Angeles can create a maximum salary spot for Irving in subsequent years.
That’s why the sign-and-trade is the only realistic path for the Lakers. That type of transaction would allow Los Angeles to offload enough salary to acquire Irving and pay him something much closer to his market value. The downside to that is that Los Angeles would need to offer Brooklyn significant assets to take on what would likely be a collection of bad salaries required to make the math work.
The Lakers just don’t have the sort of talented, appropriately-paid players that would interest a Nets team that would like to reload, rather than rebuild. It’s unwise to rule the Lakers out of a race to acquire a superstar player, but the odds are stacked against Los Angeles in their quest to land one of the most talented point guards in the NBA.