Los Angeles Lakers rumors are going to pick up steam now that the team has been eliminated from the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
An otherwise solid season for Darn Ham’s squad came to a culmination via a four-game sweep at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
There are now a ton of roster questions general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. must answer this summer. The Lakers have only six players under contract for next season. LeBron James himself is one of those, but he’s still undecided about his future.
In a page that will be updated on a consistent basis throughout the summer and fall, here are your latest Los Angeles Lakers rumors.
Lakers and Kyrie Irving team-up not a priority for either side
It seems that not only has the Lakers’ interest in adding Kyrie Irving seemingly cooled, but the 10-time All-Star may not be as interested in a reunion with Lebron James in LA. After reports that Irving was trying to recruit James to Dallas, NBA insider Marc Stein claimed the guard’s preference is to re-sign with the Mavericks and he “actually wants to shut down the notion that he’s angling to get to L.A.”
Conflicting reports on LeBron James future with the Los Angeles Lakers
Chris Haynes from Turner Sports was among the first to report following the Lakers’ season-ending loss to Denver that James is considering retirement after 20 seasons in the Association. James played into those rumors with his post-game comments:
“I got a lot to think about. Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about,” James said.
Sportsnaut’s Mark Medina followed that up by indicating that those around James are “skeptical” that he will actually retire.
James, 38, is coming off a grueling 20th season in the NBA. It’s natural for him to wonder exactly what the future holds. Even then, he put up yet another banner individual performance. With two years remaining on his contract at $97 million, it’s more likely than not that James will return for a 21st season. He just has yet to commit to that, and likely won’t for some time.
Los Angeles Lakers rumors point to potential Trae Young trade
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Los Angeles has had internal discussions about pulling off a blockbuster trade for Young. The report indicates that the Lakers could emerge as one of the teams willing to pay a heavy price for the two-time Atlanta Hawks All-Star.
Young, 24, has been linked to the Lakers for some time now. He’s also represented by Klutch Sports, who James is represented by. Young didn’t quiet these rumors by sitting courtside for the Lakers’ season-ending loss to Denver.
Even with Atlanta potentially willing to listen to trade offers for Young, it stands to reason that Los Angeles doesn’t have enough assets to pull off a blockbuster of this ilk. The team can only offer up its 2028 or 2029 first-round pick until the 2023 NBA Draft comes to a conclusion on June 22.
Related: Top 100 2023 NBA free agents
D’Angelo Russell’s future with the Los Angeles Lakers
Even before Ham opted to send Russell to the bench for Game 4 against Denver, reports surfaced that he might be as good as gone. One of the primary issues here is the market Russell is slated to be met with in free agency and whether the Lakers will want to meet that asking price.
Previously, it was noted that Russell wouldn’t take kindly to being relegated to bench duties after Los Angeles acquired him from the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Russell averaged 6.3 points on 32% shooting in the conference finals. Given the Lakers’ flirtation with other point guards, a return to Southern California is not anywhere near as likely as it was weeks ago.
Lakers could swings draft night trade to free up more cap space
Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer suggested in a recent report on the team that in an attempt to free up more cap space to re-sign some of their key free agents, the Los Angeles Lakers could look to make a trade during the 2023 NBA Draft. The two players they could move on June 22: Mo Bamba and Malik Beasley.
Los Angeles Lakers rumors: Continued interest in Kyrie Irving
It still remains highly unlikely that Irving heads to Los Angeles and reunites with LeBron James. That shipped seemed to sail when the Lakers didn’t acquire him at the in-season NBA trade deadline.
Even then, there’s murmurs coming out of Southern California that Irving could still be a fit for the Lakers. Given Los Angeles’ open flirtation with point guards, this could make some sense. It will be all about the finances and whether things come together during the summer.
Other Los Angeles Lakers rumors
- The Austin Reaves situation deserves attention heading into the summer. The former undrafted free agent was Los Angeles’ third leading scorer during the playoffs and played at a high level. However, he’s also slated to hit the restricted free agent market and could receive huge offers from other teams. The Lakers will have to decide whether Reaves’ breakout performance this past season is worth the risk.
- Another player who stood out during the postseason, forward Rui Hachimura, is also slated to hit restricted free agency. The former Washington Wizards top-10 pick is different than Reaves in that he entered the NBA with a ton of fanfare. He didn’t pan out in D.C. But played at a high level after being acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers. While other teams will offer up a ton for Hachimura, it seems highly unlikely that the Lakers wouldn’t match.