LOS ANGELES — The Kyrie Irving saga in Brooklyn took another turn on Friday as the All-Star went public with a trade request, with the Lakers reportedly among the teams expected to explore a deal with the Nets.
In a special edition of the Locked On Lakers podcast, hosts Andy and Brian Kamenetzky discussed why Irving’s unreliability and seeming disinterest in committing to basketball make him a bad bet for the Lakers.
“Kyrie has shown himself over the last several years being wholly unreliable,” said Andy Kamenetzky on the podcast. “He’s unreliable in the sense that he’s often injured, which obviously is not his fault, but it is a factor. But he’s (also) unreliable in the sense that you cannot count on Kyrie Irving for anything.
“If the Lakers make any type of deal for Kyrie that they are not willing to treat as a low-cost dice-roll, that they’re pot-committed to the point where they have to re-sign Kyrie Irving long-term in order to justify what they gave up for him, they are damn fools. Period, full-stop.”
The Lakers previously explored a move for Irving in the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s trade request last offseason, but ultimately Irving stayed put. The team has been aggressive on the trade market in the meantime, swinging deals for both Patrick Beverley and Rui Hachimura, with more talks reportedly ongoing.
Los Angeles has a big salary attached to Russell Westbrook and first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 that it can offer in a trade, which would likely be the main pieces in a potential Irving deal.
“I can’t imagine that you could swing a trade, even for a distressed asset like Kyrie Irving for less than the two first-rounders that they have available before the deadline to give up here,” said Brian Kamenetzky.
From a basketball standpoint, the upside of such a move for the 2023 All-Star could vault the Lakers up the West standings and increase their chances at a title this season. But the distraction and inconsistency Irving would bring make him too big of a risk, the hosts agreed.
“I think Kyrie Irving has become much more interested in playing the role of Kyrie Irving the iconoclast than he really is in basketball, which is part of the reason he has become so unreliable,” said Brian Kamenetzky.