LeBron James Sends Strong Message to Lakers Brass After Kyrie Irving Trade

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Brooklyn Nets finally traded Kyrie Irving on February 5. But the Nets star was not moved to the destination most expected, the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, he got traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney Smith, and three NBA draft picks.

Missing out on Kyrie is just the latest failure by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka to get a third star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. On February 6 in a sit down interview with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, James broke his silence about the Lakers failure to acquire Irving.

“Definitely disappointing… We had an opportunity, it didn’t happen,” James said of the Kyrie Irving trade. “We finish this season strong & try to get a bid into the postseason where I feel, when healthy, we can compete with anybody.”

VideoVideo related to lebron james sends strong message to lakers brass after kyrie irving trade2023-02-06T15:40:20-05:00

The Lakers did propose a trade that included two of their most valuable assets, two first-round draft picks (2027 and 2029), per Chris B. Haynes of Bleacher Report. But in the end, the Nets preferred Dallas’ offer over the ones they received from the Lakers and Phoenix Suns.

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Joe Tsai Refused To Send Kyrie Irving to the Lakers

Irving’s desire to reunite with his former Cleveland Cavaliers co-star has been apparent for several months. This past July, Haynes also reported the Lakers and Nets had exploratory conversations on a blockbuster trade that would have swapped Kyrie with Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook. They were also named among the suitors for Irving once he requested a trade from the Nets.

While the Mavericks package did give Brooklyn the return with the most assets for them to continue to compete for a championship, there was more to Nets owner Joe Tsai’s decision to send Irving to Dallas, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. One of his “presumed objectives” was to not send Kyrie to the Lakers because he knew it was his preferred destination.

“The Nets, rather than trading with Phoenix or the Lakers, ultimately came away with the two Mavericks they wanted most and a better win-now duo than L.A. could offer: Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith,” Stein writes via his Substack newsletter. “The Nets also succeeded, as one source close to the process put it, in meeting one of the presumed objectives held by team owner Joe Tsai by sending Irving somewhere other than the Lakers — his preferred destination.”

Nets Guard on Kyrie Irving Demand: ‘Everbody Was Surprised’

Kyrie’s trade request went as quickly as it came. Two days after making his demand, he was moved to Dallas in a blockbuster deal. But even more surprising than how fast he was traded, was how unexpected the request was. It didn’t seem like that long ago that the Nets owned the longest winning streak in the NBA after winning 12 in a row earlier this season.

But Irving’s trade demand was not just a surprise to the fans. According to Nets guard Cam Thomas, the players were just as shocked.

“Yeah, of course, everybody was surprised,” Thomas said after the Nets’ win over the Washington Wizards. “But it’s not my business. That’s still my brother at the end of the day. He’s one of the few guys who I consider a brother in basketball. Just a big brother who I could look up to and ask anything to so, whatever happens, happens, that’s still my brother, no matter what, at the end of the day.”

Cam Thomas | Post-Game Press Conference | Brooklyn Nets vs. Washington WizardsCam Thomas spoke to the media following Nets vs. Wizards on February 5, 2023.2023-02-05T05:44:30Z

Now that the Nets are officially in the post-Kyrie era, it will be interesting to see how the franchise moves forward.

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