Nets Make Final Call on Blockbuster Russell Westbrook Lakers Trade

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers guard Russell Westbrook

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers had preliminary discussions in July about trading Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, according to a story by Yahoo Sports’ Chris B. Haynes.

But the talks never advanced past the exploratory stages, Haynes wrote, because the Lakers were unwilling to include two first-round draft picks. Now that the Lakers have committed to maximizing LeBron James’ remaining three seasons in LA, however, they have upped the ante in terms of what they are willing to surrender to get Irving. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers have changed course and are ready to include two first-rounders in addition to Westbrook, but the Nets are not interested in that deal.

“Sources confirm that they would be willing to surrender both firsts in tandem with Westbrook’s $47.1 million expiring contract to acquire Irving (although it’s unclear if the picks would be unprotected or protected),” Stein wrote August 19 in a column on Substack.

“I’m told, however, that the Nets have steadfastly rejected that pitch.”

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Stephen A. Rips Durant’s Trade Request

Irving is not the only star the Nets have received trade calls about. On June 30,  Kevin Durant requested a trade from the team. His request comes after just three seasons with the franchise and less than one year removed from signing a 4-year, $198 million max contract extension last summer that ties him down with the franchise until 2026.

After committing last summer to being a long-term part of the franchise, Durant has changed course just one year later. ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said that Nets owner Joe Tsai should not honor his star’s trade request.

“I’m Joe Tsai, I’ve given you every damn thing you want it,” Smith said on the August 15 episode of ESPN’s “First Take.” “You can give me a championship run legitimately with all of y’all on the court together. Y’all only played about 29 games together. I mean, give me a break. I haven’t gotten a return on my investment, and then you commit last summer to a 4-year $198 million deal that came on top of the $164 million.

“Last time I checked, $198 million, $164 million, that’s about $361 million. Okay, that’s what I paid you, and all I got to show for it is one playoff victory because you want to bounce? What? Not even one day on the contract, you asked him to be traded because the contract kicks in now. You ain’t going no damn place. You’re gonna stay you’re a** right here.”

CAMERA ON ME! Stephen A. says there’s NO WAY he’d trade Kevin Durant 😬 | First TakeOn First Take, Stephen A. Smith discusses what the future holds for Kevin Durant and what he would do if he was in Joe Tsai’s situation with he Brooklyn Nets. #ESPN #FirstTake #NBAonESPN #NBA ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on…2022-08-15T15:25:38Z

Nets Not in Ideal Space, But It Could Be Worse

A lot has transpired with the Nets over the past few months, and most of it has not been positive. After trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers at last year’s deadline, most expected it would be a new day in Brooklyn. But unfortunately for Nets fans, the soap opera has continued.

But despite all the turmoil and drama that the Nets have faced over the last several months, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that they are in a better position this year than they were at the top of last season.

For one, Kyrie will be able to participate with the team full-time at the start of training camp and be able to play home and away games, regardless of his vaccination status. In addition, the offseason additions of Royce O’Neale and TJ Warren has significantly increased the team’s depth. Something they lacked severley last season.

If all of the Nets’ players can buy in for this season, they could be among the top title contenders.

 READ NEXT: Wild 3-Team Trade Proposal Sees Nets Send Ben Simmons to Lakers, Create New Big 3

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