Lakers

Lakers: Every Reason Why LA Should Not Trade For Kyrie Irving

Let us count the whys.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is headed to the Dallas Mavericks in a massive deal, just four days ahead of the NBA trade deadline this season.

While Los Angeles Lakers fans may indeed be upset at this development, it could actually prove fortuitous for LA.

The Lakers had long been interested in acquiring All-Star LA power forward LeBron James’s former Cleveland Cavaliers running mate, going back to the 2022 offseason at least.

Dallas surrendered one future first-round pick in 2029 and two future second-rounders to acquire the controversial All-Star point guard from Brooklyn, in addition shipping out solid role players Spencer Dinwiddie (a former Net) and Dorian Finney-Smith. It is unclear if Irving will sign an extension with the Mavericks or just be re-signed to a full four-year maximum deal this summer using his Bird Rights.

Irving could be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that Irving and his representatives may not want a mere two-year extension with his new club, which perhaps made the Lakers understandably reticent to offer everything they could to acquire him. LA had more draft assets than Dallas ultimately surrendered in the deal, though it had less high quality role players to surrender.

Future flexibility aside, LA may have lucked out by not trading for the mercurial point guard, a lightning rod for controversy of late. Allow me to elaborate on the less savory elements of what adding Kyrie could have meant:

1. Who He Is As A Person

Irving is no stranger to damaging his team to help himself, having refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when it was necessary to do so for him to play home games, and also refusing to apologize for sharing a film filthy with antisemitic falsehoods for such an extended period of time that his own team had to suspend him for eight games earlier this season (almost immediately upon being suspended, he caved). He’s also been known to leave his team for weeks at a time for angry walkabouts. And now, he’s done it again, compelling the Nets into an uncomfortable position right before the trade deadline! If Brooklyn hadn’t kowtowed to his demands and retained him through the deadline, there was no guarantee he won’t just sit out the rest of the season and paid whatever fines he incurred. He’s that erratic.

Behavioral shortcomings aside, if he can keep it together through June, Irving represented an incredible opportunity for Dallas to add an All-Star at a relatively affordable trade price. What he’ll act like over the next four years is more unclear.

2. His Injury History

The dude can’t stay healthy. Irving hasn’t appeared in more than 54 games in a given season since his last season with the Boston Celtics, 2018-19. To be fair, his extended absence in 2021-22 was a result of his staunch anti-vaccine stance, so it’s possible he may have actually appeared in more than 54 games had he opted to, you know, inoculate himself against a deadly virus. But he didn’t. Throughout his career, the eight-time All-Star has had long-term injuries to his ankles, back, finger, shoulders, eye hip, quadriceps, knees, thighs, hamstrings, and biceps. When healthy this season, he’s averaged an excellent 27.1 points on .486/.374/.883 shooting splits, 5.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds and one steal across 40 games for the Nets.

3. His Unrestricted Free Agency

Irving still could just walk in free agency for nothing, and in so doing would have left the Lakers out two first round draft picks for what would have amounted to an All-Star rental. His wants seem to shift so often that there is no telling how long he’ll be satisfied with any given situation. He has dramatically blown up his last three teams (the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics and now the Nets) after growing unhappy with them. Do you really think he’s going to last in Dallas for the entire length of his next contract?

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