The Los Angeles Lakers are currently looking to put together a deep run in the NBA Playoffs and it starts in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies. While that is the main focus for every fan right now, there is already some news trickling in about the upcoming offseason.
In what should be considered the biggest no-brainer in franchise history, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports that the Lakers are planning to bring Jarred Vanderbilt back for the 2023-24 season. Vanderbilt has a $4.64 million team option next season.
Vanderbilt is the new version of Alex Caruso — a hard-nosed defender that fans love because he plays the game the right way. Los Angeles is avoiding disaster by letting him walk similarly to Caruso and by making this choice, it also ensures that the team will avoid making another disastrous move as well.
Jarred Vanderbilt returning all but guarantees the Lakers won’t go after Kyrie Irving.
There has already been speculation that the purple and gold have no real interest in Kyrie Irving this offseason and that the team wants to keep together its young core. While that is all promising, you never know what can happen in the NBA and all it takes is one early playoff exit and pressure from LeBron James to make it a possibility.
However, the team already reportedly committing to bringing Vanderbilt back is showing that they are serious about bringing the young core back. Because if Kyrie comes to LA, it is likely going to have to come via the sign-and-trade variety.
Los Angeles would have to utilize D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade deal and by doing so, it would hard cap the Lakers at the luxury tax. With Irving likely getting a big deal, it would give the Lakers little to no room to pay players like Vanderbilt mid-tier salaries like the one he has.
That is the added crux of trading for Irving. Not only would the team be bringing in a controversial figure who tanked the Dallas Mavericks’ season but they would have to say goodbye to some of the key young role players in the process as well.
Vanderbilt returning is a step in the right direction as fans can begin to let out a sigh of relief as Irving does not currently appear to be in LA’s plans.