Would the Lakers be favorites to win the West after this trade?
For the Lakers, any trade for Kyrie Irving is simple. They want more top-end talent to improve their title odds next season. This deal hurts them in the regular season. Over the last four years, Kyrie has averaged 40.8 games per season. LeBron turns 39 in December, and Anthony Davis has played over 60 games just once in the last five years. The trio would likely miss significant time in the regular season, but would be extremely dangerous in the playoffs if they qualified.
The Denver Nuggets are going to be favorites in the West no matter what happens this summer. They dominated the Lakers and Suns on their way to the NBA Finals. Adding Kyrie gives the Lakers a better chance of knocking them off, but it does not make LA favorites.
This trade is a no-brainer for the Lakers. D’Angelo Russell was limited to 15 minutes in Game 4 against the Nuggets, and his defense is problematic in any playoff game. Rui Hachimura was outstanding in the postseason, but he averaged just 12.2 points per game. Kyrie efficiently averages 23.3 a night in the playoffs for his career and can be the team’s lead ball-handler.
The Lakers have to choose between a third star and depth, which complicates matters, but this particular deal seems like an easy decision for LA. Why would the Mavericks do it?