Russell Westbrook is the albatross around the neck of the Los Angeles Lakers. Trading for him last offseason hampered the franchise severely this year as they gave up multiple valuable rotation players to get him on the team. Westbrook had a very tough year in LA as the Lakers' lack of depth meant that they would fail to qualify for the postseason.
With Kyrie Irving's situation in Brooklyn looking untenable, the Lakers were thrown a lifeline. No team in the league is willing to part with valuable assets to get Kyrie, so the Lakers are basically front-runners in the race to acquire Irving.
Despite the massive upgrade the Lakers would get by swapping Russ for Kyrie from an on-court fit perspective, the team is unwilling to trade first-round picks to acquire a player on an expiring contract. Westbrook is on an expiring contract as well but he has one of the biggest salaries in the entire league.
The Lakers are desperate to move Russell Westbrook and his gargantuan $47 million contract for Irving, but are hesitating to include the multiple draft picks the Nets would want for taking on all that money. (h/t New York Post - Brian Lewis)
Trading multiple picks for Irving is something no team would want to do at this point because of the questions around his availability and willingness to re-sign. The Lakers are in a position to massively improve their title contention with Irving but have to take a massive risk by trading away a pick.
The only two first-round picks the Lakers can trade are the ones in 2027 and 2029. Both of these picks will be in LA's possession way after the LeBron era, so not wanting to give them up makes sense considering they won't be able to rebuild without those picks.
Lakers will be under pressure to maximize their chance now that they have LeBron with them and Irving is easily the best option at their disposal. Including two picks would be asinine in this situation. However, the Lakers could negotiate to give them just one pick with the larger market not showing the interest the Lakers are.