The Los Angeles Lakers may have a 5-10 record, which is the fifth-worst mark in the NBA, but it is starting to look like their roster is better than that record would indicate.
They’re riding a three-game winning streak and are coming off a 123-92 blowout victory over the San Antonio Spurs, and their role players are starting to give them consistently strong play.
However, by no means are they championship contenders.
It has been clear for a while that L.A. would need a trade or two to even come close to becoming contenders, and it is unclear if such trades will ever present themselves before the trade deadline on Feb. 9, 2023.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report proposed a three-team whopper that would likely catapult the Lakers into contender territory.
Via Bleacher Report:
“The following is legal before December 15, when most recently signed free agents are eligible for trade. The parameters could shift in a month with additional names potentially in play:
Outside of L.A., the “who gets what” is subjective based on what the Nets prioritize most. They could swap out Irving for Westbrook or take on the Lakers’ lower-priced role players for significant luxury tax savings.”
Why would the Nets do this deal?
The Nets have been rumored to want to be done with the headaches that accompany employing Irving. He was recently suspended by the team for promoting a film on Twitter that contains anti-Semitic content, and he has a history of not only promoting other conspiracy theories, but he also has a reputation for being flaky and lacking commitment to his team.
When Irving was suspended, Brooklyn was 2-6. During his suspension, which lasted eight games, the team went 5-3.
There has been a growing feeling that the Nets cannot win a championship with Irving, but perhaps the organization feels it could be successful enough without him.
Why would the Pistons do this deal?
At 3-15, Detroit has the worst record in the NBA, and it will want to give itself the best chance of getting the top pick in next June’s NBA draft.
Why? The top pick is expected to be French phenom Victor Wembanyama. Standing at least 7-foot-2, the 19-year-old has been called a generational talent by many and even the best draft prospect since LeBron James.
Bogdanovic’s contract expires at the end of this season, and he is currently 33 years of age. If the Pistons won’t re-sign him next summer, they might as well get some value in return for him while clearing cap space.
Why would the Lakers do this deal?
Aside from his off-the-court antics, Irving is still one of the game’s premier guards. He’s arguably the greatest ball-handler of all time, a big-time scoring threat, a great 3-point shooter and arguably the best crunch-time performer in today’s NBA.
Plus, he and James apparently still have something of a friendship, as evidenced by James’ tweet that showed he had Irving’s back.
Bogdanovic, meanwhile, would give L.A, another bona fide 3-point shooting threat, as well as a very productive backup power forward. So far this season he’s averaging 20.5 points per game on 51.0 percent shooting, both of which are career-highs while hitting 41.1 percent of his attempts from downtown.
Burks, a 6-foot-6 guard, would provide the Lakers with something of a 3-and-D wing, while Noel would give them a big man to deploy in emergency situations.
Aside from Irving’s off-the-court problems, this trade would be the proverbial offer the Lakers couldn’t refuse – if it ever saw the light of day.