Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been in trade talks since the opening of NBA free agency. One team that has constantly been connected to him is the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Insider Chris B. Haynes of “Yahoo Sports” reported in July that the Nets and Lakers had preliminary discussions on a trade that would send Irving to the Lakers and Russell Westbrook to the Nets.
However, the trade talks never advanced past the exploratory stages as the Lakers were unwilling to include two future first-round draft picks. Especially because Irving is on an expiring contract and will be a free agent in the summer of 2023.
But as the season draws nearer, the Nets and the Lakers have changed course on their stance in a potential blockbuster trade for the former number one draft pick, according to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers are now willing to include their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, but the Nets are no longer interested in moving their starting point guard.
“Lakers are active in trade talks around the league. They have 2 real assets to put out there for a significant trade. That’s their 20207 first-round pick and their 2029 first-round picks. If unprotected, it’ll have a lot of value on the marketplace,” Wojnarowski said during an appearance on ESPN on August 17.
“The Lakers, I’m told, are willing to do that in a Kyrie Irving trade, but that’s not something the Nets have been interested in.”
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Lebron Clamoring for Reunion With Kyrie
Irving on the Lakers would of course reunite him with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, with whom he won the lone title of his career in 2016. As he enters his 20th NBA season, LeBron is still looking to compete for a title, and the Lakers clearly need more help after failing to qualify for the postseason in 2022. James is clamoring for the Lakers to land Kyrie, per NBA insider Marc Stein.
“As it stands, barring a trade to ship out Westbrook suddenly coalescing after weeks of fruitless talks, Ham is going to have to coach Westbrook,” Stein writes per his Substack account.
“Which is bound to be challenging in the extreme given that Westbrook is well aware that the Lakers have been trying hard to move him. And that James badly wants Irving to take his place.”
Lakers Coach Makes Bold Statement About Kyrie
It is not hard to see why the Lakers are enamored with the prospect of landing Kyrie. Even with all the drama, he went through with his vaccination status last season, Irving performed at a high level, something that has come to be expected of him. He averaged 27.4 points a game while shooting over 40% from the three-point line.
Irving has shown that he is still one of the greats in today’s league; According to his former coach and current Lakers assistant Phil Handy, he is pound for pound the most skilled player in NBA History.
“I will go on record and say this. He is probably the most skilled player to ever play,” Handy said of Kyrie during an appearance on the “Certified Buckets” podcast.
“Offensively, probably the most skilled player to ever put on basketball shoes.”
The Nets’ future remains unclear. But the front office changing course and deciding not to move Irving is certainly a step in the right direction.