Friday, August 12, 2022

Lakers pushed to trade for multiple “shooters” in lieu of a $36 million superstar

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The Los Angeles Lakers were told to trade for “shooters” instead of a $36 million superstar guard.

On June 12, Bleacher Report’s Jake Rill wrote that the Lakers should pursue other trades instead of focusing on Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving.

“There haven’t been many standout shooters in the free agent market this offseason, and the players Los Angeles has signed so far are likely to play more on the bench,” Rill wrote. “So it seems likely that the Lakers will have to make a trade if they hope to make a significant upgrade. They should do that, but they shouldn’t wait and see the Irving situation. Strike a deal now, ramp up their outside shooting, and let the Nets figure out what to do with Irving without committing to a possible deal.

According to a July 7 report by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Irving wants to be traded to the Lakers and reunite with LeBron James. However, the Nets are expected to deal with Kevin Durant’s trade request before dealing with Irving, who has only piqued the Lakers’ interest.

“The only team known to be interested is the Los Angeles Lakers and the Nets have set the mood that they want to make a Kevin Durant trade first before moving to Kyrie,” Windhorst said in the July 11 episode Stand up.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported June 30 that the Lakers’ priority in the offseason is to look at outside shooting. Last season, Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting, hitting just 34.7% of its team attempts. Though Irving is a career 39.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc and an elite scorer, it’s not set in stone that the Lakers can get him.

The Lakers could miss other shooters who are on the trade block by waiting for an Irving trade. According to a July 6 report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles has expressed interest in Houston Rockets veteran Eric Gordon and Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield, but both sharpshooters could be traded ahead of Irving.

Rill believes the Lakers should acquire multiple shooters and build depth around James and Anthony Davis rather than take the three-superstar approach with Irving.

“However, it seems likely that Los Angeles would have to give up more draft capital to acquire Irving than Hield, Gordon or any similar type of player,” Rill wrote. “And the longer the Lakers wait for Irving, the more the league’s landscape could change and potentially affect the trade market for some of their other possible targets. … An Irving trade is not the only way to create such a situation. In fact, it might not even be the best move for them. After all, the Lakers grouped James with Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook and still missed the playoffs last season. Their three-superstar approach (even with Irving coming in for Westbrook) may not bring them back into the postseason.”

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported on the July 8 episode of The Athletic NBA Show that some members of the Lakers want to take over from the Pacers Hield and Myles Turner in place of Irving, although James has made it clear behind the scenes that he wants his former teammate.

“With Kyrie, I know he wants to be in LA,” Buha said. “I know LeBron wants him in LA. He’s been pushing behind the scenes. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I think Jeanie Buss’ tweet had something to do with the stuff that was going on behind the scenes. I think there’s a slight divide right now where LeBron wants Kyrie and some people internally prefer a Myles Turner, Buddy Hield type deal.

According to a July 2 report by Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers and Nets are actively involved in discussions about a trade package that would send Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn and Irving to Los Angeles. However, some in the NBA are skeptical about the deal going through.

“Rival scouts and executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, are divided over whether the Lakers can strike a deal for Irving [LeBron] James’ looming deadline for an early August contract extension is considered a key date,” wrote Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times on July 11.

Irving is a gifted player who has a relationship with James and Davis. However, Rill urges the Lakers to pursue other trade options and not play the waiting game with Uncle Drew.

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