After a summer-long staredown between the Lakers and Nets, it is Brooklyn that will seemingly walk away winners on a technicality as Kevin Durant’s decision to remain with the franchise almost certainly takes the deal off the table.
Now, the Lakers will have to move forward elsewhere, as is the focus of the latest rumors and reports.
So, now what?
The Lakers contended throughout the summer that they had other deals outside of Kyrie that they could execute. Now, we’ll find out if they were bluffing or if there are legitimate Plan B, C and more options.
That insistence remains as Dan Woike of the LA Times reiterated that point on Tuesday in the wake of the Durant news.
Sources within the organization have insisted that their options have always extended beyond Irving. Now with Brooklyn’s situation settled, it’s on the Lakers to figure out theirs with Westbrook.
The Pacers have long been rumored as the team the Lakers could turn to with Buddy Hield and Myles Turner headlining the return for Russell Westbrook and pick(s). There are other deals on the table, but none of the others feel as big as Indiana’s deal, which would finally see them unite with Buddy after years of rumors and a big man that is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate... when healthy.
But those very well may not be the only deals on the table...
A return to Los Angeles?
One of the more recent deals reported that could be done is one that involves the Utah Jazz, perhaps in a three-team deal that involves Donovan Mitchell and the New York Knicks. With Utah seemingly shifting their mindset into a rebuilding one, they suddenly have some rather appealing players for teams looking to grab some veteran role players.
Like, say, the Lakers.
On Tuesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic appeared on The Pat McAfee Show for his regular appearance and further fanned the flames of the Lakers interest in a deal with the Jazz.
Patrick Beverley has spoken in the past about his desire to play with LeBron James. Bojan Bogdanovic would do wonders to address the Lakers’ lack of shooting. On paper, it makes sense, but lots of deals make sense on paper. Getting them across the line in reality is a very different challenge.
But don’t be surprised if Utah becomes a name mentioned more often in trade talks, particularly if things heat up around Mitchell as well.
A persistent, unlikely reunion?
Considering how things ended between the Lakers and Dennis Schröder, it’s very funny how often the two sides have been linked in the last year. The Lakers reportedly tried to trade for Schröder at the deadline during the season and now could look to sign him in free agency according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein.
Re-signing free agent guard Dennis Schröder is a "legit consideration" for the Lakers, league sources say, depending on how the rest of their roster develops.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 23, 2022
After one season as a Laker, Schröder played for Boston and Houston in 2021-22.
More NBA notes: https://t.co/EwiaWFuKoI
It makes sense the Lakers are in the market for a point guard. As it stands, the team doesn’t have a natural backup point guard on the roster with Kendrick Nunn, more of a combo guard, and Talen Horton-Tucker, a ball-handling wing, the two most likely candidates for that spot.
Depending on what happens with a potential Westbrook trade, the issue may work itself out but based on the current roster makeup, there is a need that theoretically Schröder could fill, even if it’s one of the funniest outcomes possible.