Don’t count out All-Star guard Kyrie Irving landing with the Los Angeles Lakers just yet.
Despite being traded to the Dallas Mavericks this week, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst notes that if the Lakers decide to keep embattled guard Russell Westbrook on the roster rather than trading him, that the salary cap relief provided by his expiring $47.1 million contract will enable them to sign Irving outright in free agency.
“By the way, the Kyrie story with the Lakers ain’t over,” Windhorst says.
“They can sign him this summer. They don’t have max cap space now, but they’ve got a lot of it if they just keep Russ and say goodbye in July. They can still do that.”
.@WindhorstESPN says "the Kyrie story with the Lakers ain't over." 👀 pic.twitter.com/8V7RKxZtkw
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 7, 2023
When it comes to the discussions about upgrading their roster, the Lakers constantly seem to be somewhere between having too many options and not having many choices. This is particularly true of their point guard position.
For example, after months of trying to land Irving in a trade, the Brooklyn Nets opted to send Irving to the Mavs instead.
Now, the Lakers are scrambling as they try to determine whether they should move Westbrook and, if so, where.
Driving their sense of urgency are LeBron’s age (38), current production (averages of 30.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game) and a mutual desire to win a championship.
In addition, with a player option on his contract for the 2024-25 season, James could leave L.A. next summer. Should he still be playing at an elite level, that’s a loss that the Lakers would more than likely regret.
Especially if they fail to add Kyrie Irving — the proverbial missing piece — to the roster between now and the 2024 offseason.