When word spread that Rob Pelinka and Sean Marks were grabbing lunch in Chicago last week, almost everyone’s brains jumped to conversations between the two executives about the difficulties they’ve had with their point guards. On one hand, Marks wishes Kyrie Irving was more consistently available. On the other, Pelinka might’ve preferred Russell Westbrook take a night off here and there.
The specifics of each broken relationship notwithstanding, Pelinka and Marks are tasked with finding a way to make it work somehow despite some pretty foundational misunderstandings between organization and max-salaried player. Marks reportedly doesn’t want to commit long-term to Irving. Pelinka needs to find immediate help after a disastrous season from Westbrook. Can the two help each other?
This week in the “Lakers Lounge,” Harrison Faigen stopped by as I continue to try to find a replacement to discuss whether he would consider a Brooklyn-L.A. point guard swap. Here’s a general starting point for the conversation:
Alright I'm curious. Would you trade Russ and the two first rounders for Kyrie if it also meant you had to sign Irving to a max extension? (POLL)— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) May 25, 2022
So, in this scenario, just for simplicity’s sake, Irving would likely opt in to his current contract and then get an extension from the Lakers upon arrival. The Lakers would send Westbrook and their two available first rounders.
Such a move would be a significant gamble in which the Lakers would be betting their long-term outlook for a chance at winning one more championship with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Frankly, so long as Westbrook is on the roster, neither Harrison or I see the Lakers viably competing for a championship and, while Irving comes with his own risks (will he even play, for example), whenever he is available, he’s a better player outright and an exponentially better fit alongside James and Davis than Westbrook.
Yes, the future would be bleak, but we always knew that would be the case whenever James departed the organization.
Over the course of the conversation, we also discuss the Lakers’ approach to this latest coaching search and why things might be moving so slowly, a potential cheap-off between them and the Charlotte Hornets, and plenty more.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.