The Los Angeles Lakers and Kyrie Irving are in each other’s sights. He clearly wants to come to L.A. and the franchise desperately needs to make some seismic changes from last season.
Understandably, the Brooklyn Nets are reluctant to accommodate Irving in any scenario other than one that is maximally beneficial to them. They don’t want the polarizing 30-year-old, particularly not now that Kevin Durant is on his way out, but they also don’t want to give him up for peanuts.
A declining Russell Westbrook isn’t particularly appealing to Nets GM Sean Marks.
That said, a framework for an Irving-to-Los Angeles deal has slowly started to emerge over the past day.
According to Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, there are two realistic scenarios which would result in a trade between these two teams.
First and easiest would simply involve an Irving-for-Westbrook swap.
“The framework of a deal could look something like this: Irving and a second Nets player (Seth Curry, the newly acquired Royce O’Neale or Day’Ron Sharpe) in exchange for Westbrook and the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round selections,” they wrote.
It goes without saying that being able to add someone like Curry alongside Irving would huge, especially considering how porous the Lakers’ three-point shooting was last season.
The second path to Irving for L.A. would be by involving a third team, which always makes things substantially harder.
“If the Nets don’t want to take on Westbrook’s salary, a third team could enter the mix, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved,” the Amick and Buha noted.
Things are very much up in the air right now. Durant’s trade is a big domino that has yet to drop. When he gets moved, it will have a significant ripple effect – one that may lead to Irving getting dealt as well.
Presently, there is only one NBA team that Durant definitely will not be traded to. That means a lot of stuff is still on the table. Brooklyn has zero incentive to do a swap with the Lakers now when Durant is clearly priority one.
All that being said, it’s hard to ignore what ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst predicted about Irving and the Lakers earlier this week. He is rarely wrong.
Some really ugly allegations about Irving’s time in Brooklyn leaked recently. It’s not hard to guess where they came from.
Clearly the Nets are over him.
The mystery Wimbledon woman has been identified. https://t.co/drQckkinbu
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 2, 2022
Sooner or later, it feels inevitable that Irving will end up in purple and gold.
Will that be before or after the 2022-23 NBA season, though?
Time will tell.