The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to swap Russell Westbrook with another player in February. Rob Pelinka didn’t trade his veteran ahead of the trade deadline, but LeBron James really wants the team to make a move before it’s too late.
Marc Stein of Substack reported that LeBron wants to play with Kyrie Irving again. They played together in Cleveland and Irving forced his way out, but hey, LeBron picks him over Russ. Simple as that. Fun fact? Russ knows it.
“As it stands, barring a trade to ship out Westbrook suddenly coalescing after weeks of fruitless talks, (Darvin) Ham is going to have to coach Westbrook, which is bound to be challenging in the extreme given that Westbrook is well aware that the Lakers have been trying hard to move him,” Stein reported. “And that James badly wants Irving to take his place.”
Lakers don’t need much to swap Russell Westbrook with Irving
Although reports suggest that LeBron and Anthony Davis talked to Westbrook to fix their relationship, it seems like it wasn’t enough.
“Several people within the Lakers organization acknowledged it was an awkward and tense moment between its two most high-profile superstars,” Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported.
LeBron and Irving know each other really well and this will help them set up a good base in LA. The Lakers had a bad season and the team lacked chemistry. Aging veterans couldn’t turn the team into contenders. Will Irving and LeBron do this in the upcoming season? Irving is a better shooter than Westbrook after all. The tension between him and LeBron is gone now, so they may work well together.
“Kyrie’s fit in L.A. probably doesn’t require much analysis. He and LeBron won a title together in 2016,” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey wrote on July 22. “He can shoot, which is the biggest differentiator between him and Westbrook. And he’s almost four years younger than Westbrook, too. Even with whatever off-court concerns may come with Kyrie, replacing Russ with him feels like a no-brainer.”
Let’s see how this works for the Lakers. Brooklyn may part ways with Irving sooner than expected.