Though there is gaining momentum that Kyrie Irving stays with the Brooklyn Nets this season, there remains the possibility that he still ends up with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even if he stayed in Brooklyn for this season, it’s hard to fathom the team will want to bring him back. The Lakers appear the most logical landing spot as Irving spends a lot of time in Los Angeles and has played with LeBron James in the past.
The Lakers should be highly motivated to get a deal done as the situation with Russell Westbrook appears to be reaching a boiling point. The former MVP parted ways with his agent of 14 years recently, which is a sign that there could be issues behind the scene. It was also notable that Westbrook and LeBron recently attended a Lakers summer league game but the two did not interact.
According to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, star players on the Lakers are wanting an Irving trade.
“Still, the relationship between the Lakers and [Russell] Westbrook has looked severely strained this offseason,” Woike and Turner wrote. “He attended the Lakers’ summer league opener in Las Vegas, but he and LeBron James, who was also there, didn’t speak — a stark contrast to their time together last summer.
“The awkwardness was noted throughout NBA circles, with strong beliefs that the Lakers’ biggest stars have been pushing for the team to trade for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.”
Though Woike and Turner didn’t specifically name Anthony Davis, he and LeBron are the only stars on the team right now which means they’re the ones pushing for an Irving trade.
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Westbrook Hasn’t Requested a Trade
Westbrook’s time in Los Angeles won’t last past this upcoming season at the longest. He’s been a toxic asset for the Lakers and last offseason’s trade for him now looks like one of the worst in history. Despite being from Los Angeles and rooting for the Lakers growing up, it appears that Westbrook also isn’t very happy.
His unhappiness still hasn’t led to him requesting a trade, per Woike.
Westbrook requesting a trade would only make matters worse. The team is obviously looking to deal. If he were to request a trade, it gives the Lakers even less leverage than they already have.
Do Lakers Have to Trade Westbrook Now?
New head coach Darvin Ham has had a lot of nice things to say about Westbrook since taking the job. He even went so far as to say he already has a plan for how to use the guard. However, it would be addition by subtraction in the case of getting Westbrook off the team.
He has never proven that he’s willing to make the necessary sacrifices to win games. The Lakers may need to have him come off the bench for him to work but he would likely never willingly accept that. Also, there might be tension between him and LeBron. That would not be good for team chemistry. Even if the Lakers can’t trade for Irving, they must figure out how to get Westbrook off the team.