Currently, their Los Angeles Lakers are 5-11, and aside from a revealing stretch from All-Star Big Man Anthony Davis and some fun plays courtesy of role-players Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves, there wasn’t much about the start of the 2022 season -23 of the team to look forward to.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus suggests an elaborate three-team trade that he says could help the Lakers fight for the semi-title again.
Pincus suggests the Lakers pay out the combined $65.4 million in salary from Westbrook (who was good as a reserve this year, only significantly overpaid), Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn (the latter two were rough), as well as the the future first-round draft picks for the team in 2027 and 2029. In exchange, they would receive embattled Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, ex-Teammate of Lakers star LeBron James, as well as power forward Bojan Bogdanovic, swingman Alec Burks, and the contract from Nerlens Noel for a pay match from the Detroit Pistons.
Additional pieces (a future second-round pick, a young player, etc.?) may also need to be inserted between the nets and the pistons.
Irving has not made a consistent positive contribution to a team since his last appearance with James during the 2017 NBA Finals. Injuries, erratic play and, of course, extremely odd absences from the squad have kept him from helping one club in particular ever since. He was a locker room cancer and alienated co-workers, most notably while evicting James Harden from a possible all-time offense in Brooklyn. Aside from his health and extrajudicial issues, Irving has also not played a solid defense in several years.
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He’d certainly be an improvement over Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley (and Dennis Schröder), but his warts might diminish much of his usefulness.
Bogdanovic has been a bucket since he landed in Detroit and would really help LA’s ground clearance, but he too is a lackluster defender. The 6’7-inch forward is averaging a career-most 20.7 points per game on .500/.400/.882 shooting splits (that’s right, a nearly 50/40/90 slash line).
6’6″ swingman Alec Burks would certainly be a massive upgrade over most LA players as a competent full-back who’s been absolutely elite from afar this season, scoring 44.1% of his 4.9 trebles a night.
Over 21.3 minutes a night, the 31-year-old veteran reserve shooting guard averages 16.6 points on .451/.441/.822 shooting splits for a miserable Detroit club, along with 2.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals.
If Irving could stay locked up (a huge “if”) and Bogdanovic and Burks could stay healthy, this writer is still curious if the Lakers could actually go up against the most stressed teams in the Western Conference. But it would certainly be a significant trade, lifting the ground.
Noel might be able to take a few minutes off Thomas Bryant, but he really would be a throw-in.