Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers struck out on trading for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving last summer, it has been rumored that they would attempt to clear as much cap space as possible for this offseason in order to chase some big names.
One of those big names is Irving himself, who will become a free agent this summer unless his team gives him a new contract extension beforehand.
But the Lakers' recent trade for Rui Hachimura, who will be a restricted free agent after the conclusion of this season, may have signaled a change in strategy.
Via The Athletic (h/t Lakers Daily):
Los Angeles should be in win-now mode, and the Hachimura trade was an indication that the team may indeed be making a concerted effort to become championship contenders as soon as possible.
Now that Irving has asked to be traded ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, the Lakers may tilt even further in the direction of not clearing cap space this summer. If they were to sign Irving as a free agent instead of trade for him now, they would have to use their cap space to do so, which would make it nearly impossible for them to field a strong supporting cast around him, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire