After making multiple trades ahead of the trade deadline, including the blockbuster Russell Westbrook trade, the Los Angeles Lakers suddenly look like a very deep and well-balanced team.
D’Angelo Russell has given them a point guard who is apparently a very good fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while Jarred Vanderbilt has filled a big need for a versatile wing defender and strong frontcourt rebounder.
Still, some have speculated that L.A. could once again go after Kyrie Irving, who could be a free agent this summer if he and the Dallas Mavericks do not come to terms on a new contract.
But Jovan Buha of The Athletic told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that Irving isn’t on the Lakers’ radar and that they plan on keeping their current roster together for next season.
“From what I’ve been told by my sources around the organization, they wanted to run this situation (current roster) back. It’s looked good so far. They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve done a lot of winning without LeBron James. That’s something that’s kind of been under-discussed. The non-LeBron minutes were always an issue for the Lakers going back to his first year in LA and the championship season… This is my third season on the beat, and this is the best chemistry and vibes I’ve seen around the team.
“From what I’ve been told, they’re not going to be pursuing Kyrie Irving this offseason… To my knowledge and to what I’ve been told, the Kyrie ship, I think, has sailed. You never want to say never. That could easily change, but as of right now, their plan is to run this (team) back.”
Los Angeles tried to land Irving via trade both last summer and just prior to the trade deadline this season, but the Brooklyn Nets were reportedly asking for more in return than executive Rob Pelinka was willing to give up.
Instead of having Irving and a very top-heavy roster, the Lakers have a squad that features a strong bench and many productive role players. It is a squad that could perhaps contend for the NBA championship next season if it is relatively healthy and if James continues to play at a high level.