Report: Lakers want Kyrie Irving resolution before considering Eric Gordon trade

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon is often mentioned as a trade possibility for the Lakers, but Los Angeles reportedly wants clarity on the situation involving Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving before moving down its list.

Gordon is believed to be available for the right price, since he’s 33 years old and not in age alignment with Houston’s rebuilding plan. That age could make more sense with the veteran-laden Lakers, who clearly have a win-now emphasis around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

In his latest newsletter issued earlier this week, veteran NBA scribe Marc Stein offered his insight on why it’s a complicated situation:

I tend to agree with the notion that the Lakers, above all, would also prefer to hold off on secondary trades, like the various Indiana options or a potential Eric Gordon deal with Houston, until they know that acquiring Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn is no longer an option.

In short, it all comes down to salary matching. Because the Lakers are above the NBA’s salary cap, any trade requires them sending out close to as much money as they take in. Moreover, any newly acquired player (like Gordon, hypothetically) would not be able to aggregated as part of a future trade — such as one for Irving — for 60 days. At this point, that would take the situation beyond the start of 2022-23 training camps.

Thus, if the Lakers feel there’s any offseason possibility to acquire an All-Star like Irving, it makes sense for them to exhaust all options on that front before doing a deal (such as one for Gordon) that could make it more difficult to pull off an Irving trade at a later date. Understandably, the Nets don’t appear to have much interest in taking back Russell Westbrook and his bloated contract to match salaries for Irving.

The biggest challenge for the Lakers is that they don’t hold the cards, as it pertains to Irving. Because Irving hasn’t requested a trade, it’s not as if the Nets are desperate to move him. If they can somehow salvage the relationship with mega-star Kevin Durant, who has requested a trade, then Irving’s individual brilliance likely offers more upside than anything Brooklyn could potentially get for him via trade — especially with Irving entering the final season of his existing contract.

On the other hand, if Durant leaves, trading Irving could make more sense. After all, there’s not much point to taking the risk of Irving leaving for no compensation in 2023 free agency if Brooklyn has no realistic shot to contend in the 2022-23 season, anyway (thanks to Durant’s exit).

So, in the meantime, we wait. The resolution on Irving’s home to start the 2022-23 campaign likely depends on what happens with Durant, and many other hypothetical trades of a smaller nature — like, say, Gordon to the Lakers — could depend on what happens with Irving.

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