The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to hit a home run this offseason and change the fortunes of their franchise ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Lakers are supposed to be built for contention, considering they have a still-in-his-prime LeBron James. However, the last few seasons have been marred with injury and poor roster construction for LA.
One of the errors in roster construction was the massive trade to acquire Russell Westbrook. With Westbrook not gelling with the Lakers system, the team has been looking to move the guard and his massive salary in the trade market in the final year of his contract.
While LA can trade Russ to Indiana for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, they are keener to acquire the disgruntled Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. LA has already offered both their remaining first-round picks to Brooklyn, a bigger price than any team would pay for an expiring Irving. While the Nets intend to not trade Irving and run it back, Jalen Rose believes the Lakers can become title contenders if they add Kyrie to the core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
"They don't look like contending team. That is not a 'win another championship with LeBron; kind of team. For the Lakers future, if LeBron is gonna win another championship, a player besides those guys is gonna make it happen. Kyrie Irving. You're taking Kyrie Irving to go together with AD and LeBron, that makes them a clear big 3 and that makes them a contending team immediately. If they don't add a player like that, LeBron won't win another championship with the Lakers."
The Lakers roster will have massive questions even if they can flip Russ for Kyrie. There is a lack of shooting and defense around the roster that may weigh the team down.
The lack of depth on the Lakers is the biggest concern, especially with the injury history of AD and LeBron. Irving himself is rarely available for the full season, so the lack of depth may drown the Lakers if anything goes wrong. Either way, they will look like a better team with Irving than Westbrook, and the team should push towards making that a reality.