Until Russell Westbrook or the Los Angeles Lakers confirm their intentions for the upcoming season, the rumors will continue to fly.
As of now, neither side has openly discussed their immediate plans, leaving Westbrook and the Lakers in a state of uncertainty, with both seemingly waiting for the other side to blink first. The whole picture is quite disconcerting, as Westbrook could easily walk away from his player option and hit the free agent market, but who would want to leave $47 million on the table? Instead, Westbrook will likely pick up the final year of his contract and let the dice roll where they can.
The Lakers don’t have a get out of jail card in this situation, and when Westbrook goes into his senior year, they’ll have three choices, buy him out, trade him in, or keep him in their rotation. However, according to Colin Cowherd, there is an ideal trade for the Lakers, if they are bold enough to make it happen.
“I think you have to leave Westbrook because of the toxicity of his game, he can’t play off the ball and I think he lacks self-awareness. Kyrie came out a month ago and said ‘ I messed up Lebron” and I was like wow, that’s pretty good. LeBron was crushed when he left, Kyrie is a better player.
KD wants to leave Kyrie but he won’t say so publicly. He wouldn’t have to play with Westbrook. You inherit the contract, don’t play it, then move it to the deadline and you’re free. The Lakers aren’t patient, I don’t believe they’ll draft and grow, I know who they are, and LeBron doesn’t want to wait for the Westbrook case to unravel,” Cowherd said.
Athletic’s Bill Oram was also present in the episode where Cowherd postulated the Irving-for-Westbrook trade, “I don’t think that’s crazy. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but it makes sense,” Oram said when asked for his opinion.
Western Conference executive steps in
Irving and Westbrook have been rumored to be chip swaps since the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets entered the offseason, but so far there has been no movement on that front, or at least none. To our knowledge.
However, speaking to Heavy.com on condition of anonymity, a Western Conference executive added his thoughts on the potential trade and whether it makes sense for both parties.
“It’s trading one problem for another problem, but if you’re the Lakers, you can live with that. The Nets are reluctant to make a long-term commitment to Kyrie because obviously they don’t know how much he’s going to play. But the Lakers, they’re more willing. Kyrie and LeBron have their own relationship. They’d be happy to get back together. And remember, [Anthony Davis] and Kyrie also have a relationship. Kyrie was recruiting Davis to go to Boston three years ago, so they have their connection,” executive Sean Deveney told Heavy.com.
It would appear that from a player personnel perspective, no one would mind if this trade materialized, as it would reunite two stars with former running mates, and happy players generally produce better on the pitch.
Kyrie would go to Los Angeles
LeBron knows what it’s like to play with Kyrie on a daily basis and has had success with the superstar guard before, winning an NBA championship alongside him in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Irving’s ability to pick up the pace, create his own shot and generate offense out of thin air is precisely what the Lakers have been lacking this season, although, like Davis, Irving has a history of lacking. big parts of the regular season and considering LeBron. the age and wear of his body, this can be problematic.
Still, there aren’t many better options for leaving Westbrook while gaining star-level talent in return. And, while Kyrie Irving has opted for his player option to make the deal happen, neither the Lakers nor Irving are tied to each other long-term, in case things don’t work out.
So yes, from the Lakers perspective, trading Westbrook for Irving makes perfect sense.