Matt Barnes Predicts Lakers Title With Kyrie

Now that Kyrie has been given the go-ahead to search for a sign-and-trade away from the Nets, everyone thinks Irving is headed to the Lakers. Some believe the LeBron/Kyrie/AD trio won’t put a dent out west, and then there’s people like former player Matt Barnes.

Barnes sees the Lakers as immediate title contenders if Lakers GM Rob Pelinka pulls this deal off.

“I think what they have right now,” Barnes said, “if they can learn to co-exist with the group they have now, they’re really close.”

The Lakers not only missed the playoffs last year, they couldn’t sniff the play-in round. A large part of that absence was due to LeBron’s co-star, Anthony Davis, missing 42 of the team’s 82 games in 2022. Doesn’t matter how good your head honcho thinks he is when he’s a solo act for the majority of the season at 37-years-old. Getting Anthony Davis consistently on the floor immediately makes the Lakers good, and that’s where Kyrie Irving’s contributions make a difference — without that interior presence, the Lakers have no chance anyway.

But Barnes believes in Kyrie to the fullest. Still respects him like a top player in the game. Talent wise, we probably do too…he’s a top player in the game with the mentality of a disgruntled college student at Thanksgiving. Always feisty.

“Kyrie is probably a top 5 talent in the world, but you never know what you’re going to get. So, if Kyrie is committed to playing whether he plays in Brooklyn or the Lakers, he definitely makes them a title contender,” Barnes said.

Did Matt Barnes really say anything wrong here? Irving is a top-5 to ten player in the game with the one catch being that you never know what you’re getting? One moment Kyrie drops 50 with a smile on his face raving about his teammates and how he’s turning a new leaf, then a week later he’s M.I.A. leaving his teammates wondering if they’ll ever see him again.

The Lakers can’t afford to have a top player on their team miss any significant portion of the 2022-23 season. They, of course, still have to find a way to make a deal work or convince Kyrie to take a $6 million mid-level exception, and then the Irving experience begins. Would Kyrie, LeBron, Anthony Davis and a bunch of veteran shooters get it done? James has won with less — maybe it works?

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

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