NBA expert proposes a three-team trade to assist Los Angeles in reaching its destination

Los Angeles trade talk
November 25, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers are currently 5-11. Aside from an impressive run from All-Star center Anthony Davis and some entertaining performances from supporting cast members Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV, and Austin Reaves, there hasn’t been much to love about the team’s 2022–23 season debut.

Eric Pincus suggests a complex three-team transaction that, in his opinion, may aid the Lakers’ return to the semi-finals.

Pincus suggests that the Lakers trade their future first-round selection picks in 2027 and 2029 in addition to the combined $65.4 million contract of Russell Westbrook (who has been a fine backup player this year while being significantly overpaid), Patrick Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn. In exchange, they would receive the troubled Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, a former teammate of Lakers superstar LeBron James. And also, power forward Bojan Bogdanovic, swingman Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel’s contract from the Detroit Pistons for salary-matching.

Between the Nets and Pistons, more items (a second-round pick in the future, a young player, etc.?) might also be required.

Since his last appearance alongside James in the 2017 NBA Finals, Irving has yet to improve the team consistently. Since then, he has yet to be able to contribute significantly to a club because of injuries, inconsistent play, and, of course, incredibly bizarre absences from the team. He has been cancer in the locker room, alienating teammates, most notably when he forced James Harden out of what could have been the most significant Brooklyn offense in history. Beyond his physical condition and off-court problems, Irving hasn’t provided strong defense in a while.

He would undoubtedly be a step up from Dennis Schröder, Kendrick Nunn, and Patrick Beverley, but his flaws may limit how helpful he can be.

Since moving to Detroit, Bogdanovic has been a bucket and would significantly improve the floor spacing for Los Angeles, but he is also a poor defender. The 6’7 “On.500/.400/.882 shooting splits, the forward scoring a career-high 20.7 points per game (a near-50/40/90 slash line).

6’6 “Alec Burks, a swingman who has been excellent from long range this season, would be a massive upgrade over the majority of Los Angeles’ bench as a capable perimeter defender who makes 44.1% of his 4.9 triple attempts per game.

The 31-year-old veteran reserve shooting guard is scoring 16.6 points over 21.3 minutes per game for a struggling Detroit team, shooting.451/.441/.822 while adding 2.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals.

This writer is still wondering whether the Lakers could compete against the most talented teams in the Western Conference, assuming Irving could remain focused (a huge “if”) and Bogdanovic and Burks could stay healthy. But it would unquestionably be a deal that raised the floor considerably.

Noel would be a throw-in but might relieve Thomas Bryant of some playing time.

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