The Lakers and Nets were reportedly actively engaged in Kyrie Irving–Russell Westbrook trade talks.
But Los Angeles doesn’t want to sound too desperate.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get him from Brooklyn. That may come. That may evolve with time. But so far, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Kevin Durant.
If they aren’t aggressively trying to complete an Irving-Westbrook swap, the Lakers are failing on the job.
Irving would be a major upgrade on Westbrook both in current ability and fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Though he’s more reliable than Irving, Westbrook has demonstrated he won’t help the Lakers win big during LeBron’s prime.
LeBron is 37. The Lakers shouldn’t waste time in seeking an upgrade. Even if wanting to wait for Irving to become a free agent next offseason, Los Angles is a long way from having cap space.
The Lakers should be thankful Kevin Durant’s trade request has opened the door for Brooklyn to trade Irving for Westbrook plus picks. If the Nets had more reason to be concerned about the upcoming season, a player who could unlock Los Angles’ championship upside like Irving might never become available. But it requires the Lakers offering picks to entice Brooklyn.
That said, the Nets aren’t rushing to trade Irving. They could send him elsewhere. If that happens, the Lakers don’t want to be seen as having pushed too hard to move Westbrook. Their plan has been to show their commitment to Westbrook and get him to buy in. With Los Angeles stuck in a predicament, it’s not the worst way to proceed.
Unless the Lakers can get Irving.
Which they should aggressively be trying to do.