On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers played the Phoenix Suns at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, and a sizable contingent from a number of teams was there.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was present, as were LeBron James, his business partner Rich Paul, new head coach Darvin Ham and Russell Westbrook, among others.
Reportedly, a number of other team executives also made the trip to Sin City.
During L.A.’s contest on Friday, which was broadcast on ESPN 2, television cameras showed Pelinka, James and Ham having a conversation on the baseline. There was also a shot of Pelinka talking on his cell phone, as well as shots of ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski talking to Pelinka and a few others.
At halftime of the contest, Wojnarowski gave an update on the Lakers’ attempts to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, and he said the Nets are focused on first trading Durant, then moving on to a potential Irving trade.
— Neil B. (@theknproject) July 9, 2022
In some ways, trading Durant makes sense, as it could massively remodel Brooklyn’s roster and dictate how it would trade Irving.
If the Nets still have a competitive roster, it could alter some of the moving parts in a potential Irving deal.
A straight-up swap of Westbrook for Irving seems extremely unlikely, as Westbrook is a tough fit on just about any team, especially one that expects to make the playoffs.
But the other issue is that Westbrook is owed about $47 million next season, compared to Irving, who will make about $36.5 million.
Per NBA rules, the Nets would have to send the Lakers at least one additional player so that incoming and outgoing salaries will match.