LeBron James said it was a “duh” question when asked if Kyrie Irving is a player the Los Angeles Lakers should move to before the trade deadline.
Irving has filed for a trade with the Brooklyn Nets before next week’s deadline.
The eight-time All-Star was out of action for the Nets on Saturday due to a calf problem, though his absence wasn’t felt too strongly in a comeback win over the Washington Wizards.
James scored 27 points to move closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record, but it wasn’t enough to help the Lakers avoid a 126-131 reverse against the New Orleans Pelicans.
While the Lakers are a lowly 13th in the Western Conference, with a 25-29 record for the season, they may still harbor hopes of a championship attempt if they go on a run and make the playoffs.
In January, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said “there is no means we will hold on” if there was a chance to win a championship, and a possible trade for Irving could well fall into that category.
For James, it’s a no-brainer, though he insisted it’s not his call.
“That’s a Rob question,” James said when asked about the possibility of reuniting with Irving, with whom he reached three NBA Finals while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“You have to see it [Pelinka] when you’re all back in LA, I’m not speaking for our front office.
“My mindset is that whatever line-up or group we have, it’s to make sure we prepare as best we can to go out and win.
“Obviously that’s a – what’s the word you use – ‘Duh’ question when you’re talking about a player who likes that.”
One player that can be used as a makeweight in a potential trade is Russell Westbrook.
The 2017 NBA MVP had 15 points, four assists and four rebounds off the bench on Saturday, but was not called up by Darvin Ham in the last quarter.
There is a lot of speculation about his future, but when asked if he felt any added pressure, Westbrook replied: “I don’t.
“That’s not up to me. I know this has been a business since I was 18, 19 years old, since I started it.
“My dad taught me that at that age it’s a matter of getting into this competition, 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 teammates. I’m in every night. I’ll make sure I’m ready and professional as I always have been and always will be.”
James echoed the sentiment, adding: “It shouldn’t be a problem. The trade deadline happens every year.
“You go out and focus no matter what. You’re still a professional.”
As for making history, James could break the point record against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
“I just want to win, you know. You play the game right and see what happens,” he said.
“I’m tired as hell, [but] I’ll be ready to go on Tuesday.”