The Lakers continue to focus on Kyrie Irvingbut it’s unlikely that the Nets will give him up without at least one first-round pick in return, Marc Stein writes in his latest column for Substack. Irving was in LA this week to watch the WNBA’s Sparks, which Stein characterizes as making “his current presence in Los Angeles loudly known.”
Although Irving would clearly like to reunite with his former teammate LeBron James, Stein says the Lakers aren’t making any promises behind the scenes. General manager Rob Pelinka said in a TV interview Friday that he’s still working to upgrade the roster, but league rules prevent him from speaking specifically about a possible deal for Irving.
The Lakers’ concerns about overspending could be a major obstacle to getting a trade done, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated explained on Ryen Rusillo’s podcast (hat tip to Eric Eulau of SI’s Lakers page). Although they’re among the highest-valued teams in the NBA, Mannix calls the Lakers “a mom-and-pop organization masquerading as a multi-billion dollar franchise” and says they’re reluctant to assume all the costs that would be necessary to convince Brooklyn to make a deal.
“There’s not a huge appetite in LA at this point to take on all the money they’re going to have to take on to be a deeper-into-the-luxury-tax team and fork over a first-round pick in return, ” Mannix said. “As long as that is the asking price, the Lakers are not going to get their hands on Kyrie Irving.”
There’s more from Los Angeles:
- Pelinka’s next priority will be to find more shooters, Stein adds in the same piece. The Lakers have been linked to the Pacers‘ Buddy Hield and the Rockets‘ Eric Gordonwho were both clients of Pelinka when he was an agent.
- A source tells Stein that LA probably doesn’t have enough assets to get both Hield and Myles Turner from Indiana. Reports have described them as “prime targets” if the Lakers can’t put together a deal for Irving.
- Pelinka’s willingness to meet Brooklyn’s price for Irving could be influenced by James’ upcoming extension date, Stein adds. Starting August 4, James will be eligible to sign a two-year extension worth about $100MM, and Stein suggests that Pelinka might want to have a major deal in place by then to ensure that his star player is happy.