NBA

LeBron on potential Irving trade: That's a 'duh' question

By Sports Desk February 05, 2023

LeBron James said it was a "duh" question when asked if Kyrie Irving is a player the Los Angeles Lakers should move for before the trade deadline.

Irving has requested a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the deadline next week.

The eight-time All-Star did not feature for the Nets on Saturday due to a calf issue, though his absence was not felt too keenly in a comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

James scored 27 points to edge closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record, yet it was not enough to help the Lakers avoid a 126-131 reverse to the New Orleans Pelicans.

While the Lakers sit a lowly 13th in the Western Conference, with a 25-29 record for the season, they might still harbour hopes of a championship push should they get on a run and make the playoffs.

In January, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said "there's no resource we'll hold onto" if an opportunity to win a championship was there, and a possible trade for Irving might just fall into that category.

For James, it is a no-brainer, though he emphasised it is not his call.

"That's a Rob question," James said when asked about the possibility of reuniting with Irving, whom he reached three NBA Finals with while at the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

"You've got to see [Pelinka] when you all get back to L.A. I don't speak for our front office.

"My mindset is whatever line-up or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win. 

"Obviously, that's a – what's the word you use – 'Duh' question when you talk about a player that like that."

One player who could be used as a makeweight in a potential trade is Russell Westbrook.

The 2017 NBA MVP had 15 points, four assists and four rebounds from the bench on Saturday, though was not called upon by Darvin Ham in the final quarter.

There is plenty of speculation over his future, but asked if he was feeling extra pressure, Westbrook replied: "I do not.

"That's not up to me. I've known this was a business since I was 18, 19-years old, since I got into it.

"My dad taught me that at that age, getting to this league is a business, and people make whatever decision they make, that's up to them.

"I've been all in since day one. I'm very supportive of my team-mates. I compete every night. I'll make sure I'm ready and professional, like I always have been and always will be."

James echoed the sentiment, adding: "It shouldn't be an issue. The trade deadline happens every single year.

"You go out and focus, no matter what happens. You're still a professional."

As for making history, James could break the points record on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I just want to win, you know. You play the game the right way and see what happens," he said.

"I'm tired as hell, [but] I'll be ready to go on Tuesday."

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