Monday, October 2 2023

For the next few weeks, until at least the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22, Los Angeles Lakers fans will likely be left to merely speculate on what their team may do to take the final step next season.

After turning things around with some midseason trades and getting swept in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers are likely close to being a true championship-caliber team. But at least a couple of tweaks and/or improvements will be needed to deliver them their 18th world title.

Fans seem split on whether the Lakers should run it back or take a big, bold swing at a third star such as Kyrie Irving. Insider Jovan Buha wrote in an offseason mailbag article that the team tentatively is planning on running it back.

Via The Athletic:

“The tentative plan for the Lakers is to run it back with as much of this past season’s group as they can possibly afford under the new, stricter collective bargaining agreement.”

Guards D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker IV, and forward Rui Hachimura will all be free agents on June 30. A new collective bargaining agreement, which is even more restrictive than the previous one, will take effect soon and heavily penalize teams that go beyond a certain threshold above the initial luxury tax threshold.


That new agreement will require executive Rob Pelinka to get creative in order to retain Russell, Reaves and Hachimura at a minimum.

On the other hand…

However, Buha also did write that the door on a bold move to acquire a third star isn’t closed.

“They will only pursue a third star if they deem that player of a certain caliber and believe he can fit next to James and Davis.

“I think they run it back, or try to upgrade the point guard/lead ballhandler spot (Kyrie Irving, Fred VanVleet, Trae Young, etc.).”

One fan asked him to put a percentage on the chances of Irving joining the Purple and Gold, and he said it’s certainly possible, although not likely.


“This is a difficult question to answer, but if I had to peg a percentage, I’d go low — somewhere in the 10 to 15 percent range. It’s certainly possible, but there are so many factors that have to go in the Lakers’ favor for them to land Irving.”

Other than the ramifications of the punitive new salary cap rules, it’s hard to imagine Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban playing ball with the Lakers in good faith to negotiate a sign-and-trade.

Then again, LeBron James is considered to have an outsized influence on the team’s personnel decisions, and perhaps that’s where the possibility lies.

“Because of James’ affinity for Irving, and his potential leverage this offseason due to the uncertainty regarding his return, there’s a chance the Lakers cave and acquire Irving via trade or free agency.”


Acquiring Irving would almost certainly mean that L.A. would be left with a thin supporting cast around him, James and Anthony Davis that would have to be comprised of over-the-hill players on minimum contracts. It’s hard to imagine such a team realistically winning it all in the modern NBA.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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