As Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving continues to serve out his suspension, there are a lot of questions surrounding where he will play next. Once again, the ailing 2-8 Los Angeles Lakers have come up in conversations as a possible destination.
Not so fast.
The Lakers are said to have some “significant concerns” about adding Irving to their roster, according to an extensive report by The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
Additionally, the Lakers are hesitant to add Irving at any price and “haven’t been focused at all about adding him,” as Amick spoke to many executives around the league. This is a lot to say for a team that desperately needs a spark when they don’t have the offensive firepower to contend with the league’s top teams. It also speaks to years of controversies surrounding Irving and how it’s overshadowing his obvious talent on the court.
Over the summer, during the Kevin Durant trade fiasco, there was a slight possibility that Irving could have elected to be a free agent. There was some chatter about a possible sign-and-trade with the Lakers and even Irving signing a $6M taxpayer midlevel deal with the team. That wouldn’t have made sense, given he will be a free agent this coming year. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted on Sportscenter that the Lakers even had cold feet on the move during the summer.
“I think it speaks to what happened last summer when Brooklyn was resistant to giving Kyrie Irving a long-term guaranteed contract. So were the Lakers in a sign-and-trade scenario with Brooklyn. I think for Kyrie Irving, these were the questions that put him in this situation where he was in the final year of his deal. I don’t think there’s anything that’s happened so far this season, on or especially off the court, that’s going to give anybody more comfort with committing to Kyrie Irving on a long-term contract that leaves an organization without the flexibility to move out from under it.”
The Lakers are looking to try to make the best of what they have, despite their desperate need for shooting power and some unfortunate injuries. For Kyrie Irving, the future looks cloudy. Even if he fulfills his requirements and plays out the rest of his deal with the Nets this year, teams might want to sign him on one-year contracts for the rest of his career.