With the news that Kyrie Irving has reached an impasse with the Brooklyn Nets, there’s a chance the point guard could bolt in the offseason.
While it seems slim that he’ll be leaving at the moment, there’s a real chance of it happening and if the Nets lose him for nothing, it’d be hard for them to recover. Many people believe Irving leaving would create a domino effect that leads to Kevin Durant requesting a trade.
There’s still an avenue the Nets could take to avoid getting nothing in return and that’s in a trade. While Irving has created a lot of problems during his stay in Boston and now Brooklyn, there’s no question his talent is among the best in the league.
This three-team trade floated by Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus would send Irving to the Lakers while also sending Russell Westbrook back to Oklahoma City. Perhaps the best news of it all is he argues this would make all sides happy.
3-Team Deal With Lakers & Thunder
When the Irving news first broke, the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks were all named as being in the running for the star guard, but the Lakers look to be the most prominent threat.
Landing with the Lakers would reunite Irving with LeBron James, and perhaps the two would be able to recapture their glory and win another championship together before James retires.
Pincus argues that if Irving wants out, they should be self-aware enough to see that like they were with James Harden last season. Because of that, the Nets should explore something, and perhaps grab some young assets in return.
“Can the Nets add something to the puzzle to get Luguentz Dort in the deal from Thunder?” he asks. “Would Brooklyn take on JaMychal Green ($8.2 million) and/or Mike Muscala for frontcourt depth? Who else can be had from Oklahoma City? Do any Lakers stand out to the Nets like Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Stanley Johnson or Talen Horton-Tucker?”
As for getting the Thunder involved in the deal, Pincus believes that’s on the Lakers to make happen, and he thinks they could do that despite sending them Westbrook’s massive contract.
“The Lakers would have to make it worthwhile, perhaps offering a 2027 or 2029 first-round pick with Westbrook,” he writes. “The Thunder would need to send out Derrick Favors, Green and another $2.6 million in salary to make room for the Lakers guard. That could be as simple as opting Muscala in ($3.5 million)—or another combination of players, including Ty Jerome, Kenrich Williams, Theo Maledon or even Dort.”
Can This Happen?
Dreaming up a reunion with Irving and James is a fun hypothetical, but it seems difficult to envision that being a reality.
Moving Westbrook will be hard to do, but it won’t be impossible. Before he came to the Lakers, Westbrook had a strong year for the Wizards, so he likely still has something left in the tank if he’s able to play a role that suits him better.
If the Nets find out they do have to move Irving, Pincus believes this three-team deal could end up being one of the best options out there.
“The bulk of player movement will lock in over the next couple of weeks,” says Pincus. “The Nets have a decision to make with Irving. If an extension can’t be reached, and Irving is adamant on a reunion with James, the Lakers may not yield Brooklyn’s dream return. However, that could prove to be the best answer from a list of difficult choices.”