Lakers Rumors: LeBron James ‘Badly’ Wants to Replace Russell Westbrook with Kyrie Irving

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Lakers stars Russell Westbrook and LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers small ahead LeBron James reportedly “badly” desires to substitute level guard Russell Westbrook with a seven-time All-Star.

According to a July 29 report from Marc Stein of Substack, James desires the Lakers to commerce for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. Stein additionally reported that Westbrook is conscious of James’ need to play with Irving.

“As it stands, barring a commerce to ship out Westbrook immediately coalescing after weeks of fruitless talks, (Darvin) Ham goes to have to coach Westbrook, which is sure to be difficult within the excessive on condition that Westbrook is effectively conscious that the Lakers have been attempting laborious to transfer him,” Stein reported. “And that James badly desires Irving to take his place.”

James and Irving performed in 183 regular-season video games collectively on the Cleveland Cavaliers, compiling a stellar file of 132-51. The two All-Stars additionally went 39-13 within the playoffs and guided the Cavaliers to the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors.


Why Does James Want to Move on from Westbrook?

James and Westbrook did not sit subsequent to one another or say hiya through the Lakers’ Summer League sport on July 8 in Las Vegas. James sat on the south baseline, whereas Westbrook positioned himself on the opposing sideline.

Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reported on July 15 that “a number of individuals inside the Lakers group acknowledged it was an ungainly and tense second between its two most high-profile superstars.”

Westbrook began 78 video games for the Lakers final season. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.5 factors, 7.4 rebounds and seven.1 assists whereas taking pictures 44.4% from the sector, 29.8% from past the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line. Westbrook was second within the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst efficient area purpose share, making him a poor match subsequent to James and Anthony Davis.

The Lakers might compete for the title subsequent season in the event that they acquired Irving, who’s a greater shooter than Westbrook. Irving is a profession 39.3% shooter from past the arc, whereas Westbrook is at 30.5%.

“Kyrie’s slot in LA in all probability does not require a lot evaluation. He and LeBron received a title collectively in 2016,” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey wrote on July 22. “He can shoot, which is the most important differentiator between him and Westbrook. And he is virtually 4 years youthful than Westbrook, too. Even with no matter off-court issues might come with Kyrie, changing Russ with him seems like a no brainer.”


Lakers Aren’t Close to Trading Westbrook

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on July 16 that the Lakers, who missed the playoffs final season, provided Westbrook to the Nets for Irving. However, talks between Los Angeles and Brooklyn have not progressed any nearer to an settlement.

Meanwhile, Bob Kravitz and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on July 22 {that a} package deal that may have seen the Lakers commerce Westbrook and a first-round decide to the Indiana Pacers for heart Myles Turner and taking pictures guard Buddy Hield is at the moment useless. Indiana desires a second first-round decide added to the deal.

Irving, 30, will make $36.5 million subsequent season. He appeared in 29 video games for the Nets final season and averaged 27.4 factors, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Uncle Drew did not make his 2021-22 season debut till January as a result of he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The Nets made a collective resolution not to have Irving be a part-time participant to start the season. However, the franchise modified its stance.

A 3-time All-NBA guard, Irving requested a commerce from the Cavaliers in 2017 as a result of he reportedly now not wished to play with James. However, Charania informed Pat McAfee on the June 20 episode of “The Pat McAfee Show” that the 2 champions nonetheless have an excellent relationship.

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