NBA GM: Nets Could Make Blockbuster Trade for Kyrie Irving, Land All-Star Center

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has officially opted into the final year of his deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Although some may think that equals the end of the drama between Kyrie and the franchise, the saga could be in its beginning stages. Irving and the Nets not agreeing to the terms of a potential long-term extension is telling. And as the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Irving, now locked into his contract for 2023, gives the Nets a clearer direction of where things are headed. The All-NBA guard will officially become a free agent next summer, and he could choose to leave the Nets. One NBA executive suggests a trade where the Nets trade Kyrie to the Los Angeles Lakers and get three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert in return.

“You could do three teams, Kyrie to the Lakers, Gobert to Brooklyn, and Russ to Utah, with the Jazz probably buying him out. That’s a longshot, though,” the executive said to Heavy’s own Sean Deveney.

“It could be something that happens during the season, if the Nets get on the court and things go sideways — Ben Simmons is still not healthy, Durant is not happy, they’re struggling. At that point, the Nets are pretty much out of leverage, and the Lakers could send Westbrook and a pick for Kyrie, and it’s doubtful the Nets would get a better deal. Again, it is a long shot, but it is realistic.”

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Kyrie Could Still Be Traded This Offseason

There had been murmurs of a possible Kyrie to Lakers scenario in the days before he opted into his deal. Irving going to Los Angeles would reunite him with his former Cleveland Cavaliers co-star LeBron James.

Having Irving inked for this year gives the Nets the option of trading him and receiving assets back this season, as opposed to letting him walk and getting nothing in return next summer. While it may be a long shot, the NBA executive says he doesn’t rule out the chances of Irving being moved to the Lakers this offseason.

“It could happen this offseason, but it would take four teams most likely. It would be complicated. You would need the Nets and Lakers, obviously, but then a third team to absorb Westbrook’s salary, which would be either Detroit or Oklahoma City. Those teams would need draft picks as incentive,” the executive added.

“Then you need another team to send back a player or two to Brooklyn because the Nets are not going to trade Kyrie just to get him off the books. They’re going to want to keep KD happy. But that fourth team, they’re going to be a team looking to either get rid of a player altogether or be willing to take on Russell Westbrook. That’s tricky. Utah, maybe, if they can’t find a taker for Gobert’s salary.”

Lebron Could Take Less Money for Lakers to Ink Kyrie in 2023

Now that Irving has opted into the final year of his deal, the next major chip to fall is LeBron. James can elect to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. However, the Lakers are expected to offer the four-time NBA MVP a max extension during the offseason. The executive says that in those extension negotiations, LeBron could take less money to free up cap space for Irving to sign with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in 2023.

“And the Lakers could try to create the room to sign him next summer, 2023. LeBron could take a lesser deal in an extension this summer to preserve some room. Or, they would probably have to dump Horton-Tucker to make that work, but that’s out there, too,” The executive added.

As much as this season will be a ‘prove it’ year for Kyrie, it will also be a ‘prove-it’ year for the Nets if they hope to retain Kyrie next summer.

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