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Getty Buddy Hield, Los Angeles Lakers

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to explore potential avenues to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, it would be prudent for them to begin exploring potential backup options.

Of course, finding a way to reunite LeBron James with Irving should be the top priority, but finding a deal that works for both sides is always going to be difficult, regardless of how badly Irving wants out.

As such, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report has proposed a potential backup option for the Lakers, should their pursuit of Irving ultimately fail, listing Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings as an ideal option.

“Hield is a logical Plan B because of his three-point prowess—he has shot 39.8 percent from beyond the arc in his career…Hield, who was a Lakers target before the team pivoted to Westbrook last offseason, would make L.A. a more complete team, but there are obstacles to acquiring him.” Knox wrote as he considered the notion of Hield, which was originally postulated by Dave McMenamin on ESPN’S July 2 episode of NBA Today.

Kendrick Perkins walks off the set during the Lakers conversation ???? | NBA TodayWhile Tim Legler, Dave McMenamin, Richard Jefferson and Malika Andrews discuss the Los Angeles Lakers, Kendrick Perkins walks off the set. ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV:

Hield’s reputation as an elite sharpshooter could appeal to the Lakers front office, as they look to add additional floor spacing around the interior presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis – something that will be even more significant if Russell Westbrook remains on the roster heading into the new season.

Hield’s Shooting Could Unlock the Lakers’ Offense

While that are very players at the level of Irving, finding somebody who can fill a clear hole within your rotation can have an enormous impact, and that’s where Hield’s value to the Lakers could become an interesting factor.

Throughout his six years in the NBA, the six-foot-four shooting guard has shot the three-ball at a 39.8% clip on 7.6 attempts per game. Such reliability from deep with impressive volume would work wonders for the Lakers’ offense, specifically in opening driving lanes or forcing the help defense into making tough decisions. Beyond draining his perimeter shots, the Bahamas native is also adept at attacking close-outs, knocking down 41.4% of his mid-range attempts for his career. 

McMen: Lakers plan B might be Buddy Hield or Eric Gordon if they can’t get Kyrie

— Ralph Mason (@Ralph_MasonJr) July 2, 2022

It would also be interesting to see how Hield performs in a winning situation, given he spent his entire career on rebuilding or struggling rosters despite being one of the league’s premier shooters.

Irving Want’s to Join the Lakers

Unlike in previous years, Irving’s ability to dictate his next stop is minimal. After missing most of last season due to his vaccination status, and then failing to help the Nets out of the first round, the superstar guard’s value around the league has taken a hit – a fact that hasn’t been helped by him being viewed as a disruptive lockerroom presence.

As such, Irving might have to wait out the final year of his contract before making his way to his preferred destination, which according to reports, is Los Angeles. According to ESPN’S Stephen A Smith, Irving has made his desire to don the purple and gold quite clear in recent days, but it’s looking unlikely he gets his wish before the new season begins.

Stephen A.: Kyrie Irving plans on going to the LAKERS | NBA Today✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV:

“Kyrie Irving is telling everyone he plans to go to L.A., meaning the Lakers, as soon as he possibly can. The likelihood is he’ll have to go through this season and then when he becomes a free agent after this season is over he plans on rejoining LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. They’ll have about $70-80 million under the cap. They’ll use it on Kyrie Irving — or so he believes,” Smith said on a June 30 episode of NBA Today. 

That scenario could work out well for the Lakers, as by delaying Irving’s arrival, Los Angeles could move to add Hield to their rotation this summer before welcoming the superstar guard this time next year. Suddenly, the Lakers would be more versatile on the offensive end, boast high-level spacing, and be better situated for a new period of dominance moving forward.

Hield isn’t the end goal for Rob Pelinka and co. but he does serve an immediate purpose and make the Lakers more formidable moving forwards (he has two years remaining on his current deal) – and with all things considered, that’s a solid consolation prize for enduring the twelve-month wait to welcome Irving into Tinseltown.

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Bill Russells No. 6 to be retired league-wide by the NBA

The NBA is paying the ultimate tribute to the late Bill Russell, announcing Thursday that it will permanently retire his No. 6 across the league.

Russell, an 11-time champion with the Boston Celtics, becomes the first NBA player to have his number retired league-wide.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Thursday.

“Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”

Players who are currently wearing No. 6 will be allowed to continue using the number. LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Quentin Grimes of the Knicks are among the players who wore No. 6 last season.

Russell died late last month at age 88. His No. 6 was previously retired by the Celtics in 1972.

The Hall-of-Fame center averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game during his career from 1956 to 1969, playing each of his 13 seasons with the Celtics.

A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Russell won his final two titles as a player-coach with Boston. He was the first Black coach in professional team sports in North America, and the first to win a championship.

Russell’s number is the third in U.S. professional team sports to be retired league-wide, following Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in the MLB and Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in the NHL.

The NBA will also honor Russell during the 2022-23 season by adding clover-shaped logos featuring No. 6 on every court in the NBA, as well as commemorative patches on every team’s jersey, the league and the National Basketball Players Association said in Thursday’s announcement.

“This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” Tamika Tremaglio, the executive director of the player’s association, said in a statement.

“Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout the course of his life helped to shape generations of players for the better and for that, we are forever grateful. We are proud to continue the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”


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