Nets ‘Optimistic’ to Finalize Trade Freeing Them From Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook

Getty Kyrie Irving #37 and Russell Westbrook #24 of the United States joke around during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp

Kyrie Irving turned the NBA upside down ahead of the NBA Draft during his contract negotiation drama. The shake-up with Irving really started before the season was over when the star refused to be vaccinated resulting in him not actively being on the court for the Brooklyn Nets. For days reports of the future of Irving and Nets contract negotiations flooded in. He was even rumored to be willing to sign a mid-level exception to reunite with LeBron James in Los Angeles with the Lakers. 

Kyrie Drama Followed by Durant Trade Request

Those reports calmed down when Irving elected to opt-in to the final year of his contract with the Nets, and there and things were quiet in Brooklyn…for roughly 24 hours. Then news that Kevin Durant requested to be traded from the Nets was shared by Shams Charania of The Athletic ahead of the July 30 free agency window being opened. 

Quickly after the Durant news dropped, it was obvious that there was no way that Irving would be staying in Brooklyn despite him opting-in to the final year of his contract. 

“Very much everybody is in play in Brooklyn, certainly, and I think it’s very likely that not only Kevin Durant, but Kyrie Irving have their played their last games for the Nets,” Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Today.

The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the teams at the forefront of the Kyrie Irving discussions, and the possibility of a deal looks more likely with recent reporting from Yahoo’s Chris Haynes

Latest on Kyrie Irving Trade

The news of increasing optimism with the possible Nets and Lakers trade for Kyrie Irving broke with a June 2 tweet from Chris Haynes. 

“The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively engaged in trade discussions centered on a Russell Westbrook-Kyrie Irving package, league sources tell @YahooSports,” Haynes tweeted. 

The two sides continue to talk about draft compensation, and the Nets want the Lakers to take Joe Harris in the deal, according to Haynes.

“There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said,” Haynes wrote.

If the Lakers take on the Harris salary, a deal may be able to get done. It is still a puzzling move for the Nets, especially after last season, but it does go to show how done the franchise is with Irving and everything that comes with him. However, the team is still in no rush to trade the star and may be able to find another suitor for their All-Star point guard. 

“The Nets are not expected to be rushed into a deal and will continue conversing the complex specifics with the Lakers on an Irving-Westbrook swap,” Haynes wrote.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also reported that an Irving deal will likely have to wait for any possible Durant trades or the situation gets sorted out. If the Lakers remain in on the reunion between James and Irving and pull off a trade involving Russell Westbrook, who the team doesn’t really want around in that capacity, it is truly a steal. It is crazy how much the drama of Irving puts the Nets in a spot to get little back for despite being one of the top-five point guards in the NBA. 

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