At one point earlier this summer a Kyrie Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers trade appeared inevitable.
The 30-year-old had clearly worn out his welcome with the Brooklyn Nets and, with Kevin Durant’s dubious status, cleaning house made sense.
Things got as far as a general framework for a prospective trade being put in place. And then everything came to a screeching halt.
The two sides simply couldn’t find a compromise that worked.
This week Jovan Buha of The Athletic broke down the one major roadblock currently impeding an Irving-to-L.A. trade.
Essentially, Brooklyn doesn’t want Russell Westbrook – for obvious reasons.
“The Nets aren’t interested in taking back Westbrook’s contract, which means the Lakers would have to include a third team – with the Pacers, Spurs, Jazz and Knicks as possible options — to accept Westbrook in a salary dump,” he wrote.
“Then, there’s the matter of draft picks. The Nets’ initial ask was for two first-round picks. The Lakers haven’t been willing to give up more than one in any trade negotiations. I think that will change for the right deal, such as an Irving trade. But the Lakers aren’t going to budge, if they even do, until they feel like they must. They’re not at that point yet.”
In recent days Irving’s public messaging seems to have shifted. Outwardly he has presented the impression that he is extremely open to making it work with the Nets.
That said – he very much still wants to be a Laker.
“All indications are that the Lakers are Irving’s top destination if he leaves Brooklyn, whether it’s via a trade between now and the February 2023 trade deadline, or in free agency next summer, when Westbrook’s salary will be off the Lakers’ books,” Buha added.
As noted, the Spurs could easily help facilitate this trade – but it’s unclear if they are willing to. And until that changes, it’s difficult to see how Irving lands in Los Angeles.
Complicating matters further is the fact that the Lakers are at a standstill with their other moves, awaiting to see how this situation shakes out. They came into the offseason with a Plan A trade and Plan B trade in mind, but at the moment they seem to be pushing all their chips into the Plan A camp.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/Ft3n8EAZ8B
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 5, 2022
Will this matter ultimately sort itself out in the coming weeks and months?
Time will tell.