The Los Angeles Lakers have a massive offseason staring them in the face. 2023 NBA free agency will define much of the foreseeable future for the Lakers, including whether or not LeBron James returns. James has caused retirement speculation to circulate with cryptic comments after the Lakers playoff exit, and now the Los Angeles brass needs to make the right moves that will entice him into returning. NBA free agency will be the primary area that the Lakers can make headway in convincing LeBron to return, starting with re-signing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. There are also multiple free agents from other teams who could be available and open to playing with the Lakers. However, that doesn't mean that all of them would be a good fit. Kyrie Irving and Kristaps Porzingis are two free agents in particular that the Lakers must avoid signing during 2023 NBA free agency.

The Kyrie Irving rumors to join the Lakers have been swirling for some time now, while not much has been heard about Kristaps Porzingis wanting to come to Los Angeles. Regardless, both would be bad decisions by the Lakers, and there are a number of reasons why. The Lakers were one series away from the Western Conference Finals this season, and will easily be an NBA Finals contender again next year if they can get LeBron to return alongside the right new pieces. Adding Irving and Porzingis would be the wrong turn at the fork in the road, and would essentially put the nail in the coffin of James playing with the Lakers any further passed next season. While the Lakers definitely need to use NBA free agency to upgrade, they need to steer clear of Kyrie Irving and Kristaps Porzingis.

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Kyrie Irving

Although the possibility of Kyrie Irving coming to Los Angeles and playing with the Lakers is looking like a very real possibility, it would be a very bad decision by the Lakers. There is no denying the talent that Irving possesses; he is one of the best ball-handlers of all-time, can score from all three levels with creativity and ease, and has a layup package that few in the history of the league possess. Not to mention, his history with LeBron James would probably be a good thing for the chances of James returning next season. All of that being said, it is still a bad idea to bring in Kyrie Irving.

The one thing that has hurt Kyrie Irving's playing career is his proclivity to be involved in controversies off of the court. Irving is by no means a bad person and has every right to be who he wants to be as a human being, but from an organizational standpoint, employing him is a bad business decision for the Lakers. Irving has shown that he is going to prioritize himself, and any business that wants to succeed wants employees that are willing to put the company first. Kyrie Irving is not that type of person for better or for worse, which is why the Lakers should not go sign him. If they do, they will risk Irving being a distraction and allowing focus to drift from an NBA Championship, something a caliber organization like the Lakers cannot afford.

Kristaps Porzingis

On paper, Kristaps Porzingis would make sense for the Lakers. Porzingis is much better utilized as a unicorn style big who can hover around the perimeter, which is perfect when paired with Anthony Davis who plays his best basketball near the rim. Not to mention, the Lakers were not the best of shooting teams, and Porzingis is coming off of his second best year shooting the ball from long range at 38.5%. There are plenty of reasons why the Lakers might give him a chance, although one glaring aspect remains why the Lakers need to avoid signing him; history says Porzingis can't play in the bright lights.

With the New York Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis' tenure came to an unceremonious end that seemingly left bad blood between him and the organization. Then he and Luka Doncic were paired together with the Dallas Mavericks, and many were expecting a very exciting style of basketball that was sure to thrill with the star power associated with Doncic. However, his time in Dallas was a failure, and eventually he was traded to the Washington Wizards. With the Wizards, Porzingis has seen a resurgence and had one of the best seasons of his career last year; it came at the perfect time right before he is now slated to be a free agent. Nonetheless, the Lakers would be wise to not fall for recency bias and avoid Kristaps Porzingis in NBA free agency. Playing in Los Angeles would not be good for his psyche if precedent means anything, suggesting that the Lakers should look elsewhere. Porzingis will probably get paid a fair amount in NBA free agency this summer, but Lakers fans should hope it isn't to be playing in Los Angeles.