Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was inactive for the better part of the 2021-22 NBA season. He was sidelined by the Nets, after he refused to get the New York City mandated COVID vaccine, that was required for him to play Nets home games at Barclays Center. With Irving on the sideline ineligible to play for the Nets, some teams pondered if the Nets would make their All-Star point guard available via trade. One of those teams was the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Ian Begley of SNY, some members of the Lakers organization considered the possibility of a reunion between Irving and his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, LeBron James.
“Several outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets had been open to talking to teams about potential Irving trades during that time. Obviously, nothing came to fruition. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during that stretch of the season, sources say,” Begley writes via SNY.
“The deal would have obviously reunited Irving with LeBron James. It’s unclear if the Lakers reached an internal consensus on Irving at the time. And it doesn’t really matter at this point. Given where Brooklyn is at the moment, it would be surprising if the club didn’t sign Irving to a multi-year extension/new contract this summer as it continues to pursue a title.”
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Kendrick Perkins Suggests Lakers and Nets Swap Stars
Both the Nets and Lakers had championship aspirations in 2022, coming into this season as the favorites to represent their respective conferences in this year’s NBA Finals. Unfortunately, both teams had their seasons cut short prematurely. The Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round, and the Lakers missed the cut-off to qualify for the play-in tournament.
But despite their early exits, both teams will still come into next season with title expectations. But for that vision to come to fruition, their rosters will need some tweaking. ESPN Analyst Kendrick Perkins suggests that the Nets and Lakers do a superstar swap with Kyrie and Anthony Davis.
“If I’m the Lakers, I would seriously consider trading Anthony Davis for Kyrie Irving,” Perkins said during the May 6 airing of ESPN First Take. ”I think it’s time for both franchises, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets, to get a new change. Both of them. I think the players need a new change. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kyrie Irving back with LeBron James, a guy he went to Finals with and won a championship.”
Perkins: Eastern Conference a Better Fit for Anthony Davis
When the Lakers won the 2020 NBA title inside of the Disney Bubble it looked like LeBron and AD were going to be the NBA’s next great duo. But since then, the Lakers have not had much success on the floor. A groin injury to Davis ultimately sealed a loss to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of last year’s playoffs, and multiple injuries this season had the Lakers star big man in street clothes for 42 games this season. Perkins says that a move to the Eastern Conference could be just what AD needs to get back on the track to stardom.
“I also wouldn’t mind seeing Anthony Davis team up with Kevin Durant in the Eastern Conference,” Perkins continued. “When you look at the Eastern Conference, what does the Eastern Conference stack up? Bigs. When you look at Giannis Antetokoumpo, Joel Embiid, Bam Adebayo if you are the Brooklyn Nets and you are Kevin Durant, I’m looking at AD like, ‘Hey, this [Western] conference, that’s the better conference got nothing but great bigs. I need someone to match that intensity when it comes playoff time.’”
Irving is eligible to sign an extension with the Nets for, 4-years, $184 million, or for 5-years, $248 million this offseason. The extension would pay him $42.7 million per year, which would make him the seventh highest-paid player in the NBA. It will be interesting to see if the Nets think that he is worth such a high price.