Proposed Trade Sends Nets a $206 Million 9-Time All-NBA Point Guard

Steph Curry Russell Westbrook

Getty Steph Curry guards Russell Westbrook during an October game.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season. They have just five wins, and things do not look like they will improve soon. They have already moved Russell Westbrook to the bench, and LeBron James has missed the last several games with a thigh injury.

With Westbrook on an expiring deal, this season Eric Pinus of Bleacher Report suggests a three-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons that could help the Lakers unload Westbrook’s contract.

Full details below:

The Lakers trade Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, and two future first-round picks (2027 and 2029).

The Brooklyn Nets trade Kyrie Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Detroit Pistons trade Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel to the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Westbrook Trade Would Increase Nets Payroll

The irony of this trade proposal is that the Nets and Lakers briefly discussed a trade in July that would have sent Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn and Kyrie Irving to the Lakers. However, those talks never advanced past the preliminary stages. With Irving on an expiring deal and set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, any trade involving Irving at this point would be more about a salary dump than improving this season.

But Pinus notes that even if the Nets were to potentially trade Kyrie to the Lakers, taking on Westbrook’s salary would significantly increase their payroll.

“If the team wants to part ways with Irving, a trade with the Lakers can bring in an immediate replacement or help Brooklyn save significant money. With its roster of 15 players, the Nets (8-9) project to have a total payroll of roughly $293.1 million, including luxury taxes. Adding Westbrook, with Irving to L.A. and Sharpe to Detroit, Brooklyn would increase that burden to approximately $344.6 million,” Pinus writes.

“The Nets could look to shed other players, but the Westbrook path represents an additional $51.5 million. Those figures alone may be reason enough to pass. Instead, the team could take on Beverley and Nunn from the Lakers.”

Durant Would Need to Sign Off on Irving Trade

But the chances of a team taking on Irving on an expiring contract are unlikely. Because he has yet to play a full season during his Nets tenure, teams around the league are skeptical about offering him a long-term contract. So, if he isn’t signing an extension with the team he is traded to, the deal would be pointless unless the sole purpose is a salary dump.

But there also is an even bigger issue facing the Nets with a potential Irving deal. That would be their franchise player Kevin Durant. Irving played a major role in getting KD to leave Golden State to come to Brooklyn in 2019, so ultimately, he would have to be the one to sign off on an Irving trade.

“The Nets were hesitant to trade Irving over the offseason with Kevin Durant’s trade demand. Keeping Durant, who recently gave B/R’s Chris Haynes an in-depth interview, is a priority for Brooklyn,” Pinus adds.

“If that goes sideways, the Nets face a very different conversation—so any Irving trade would need to pass muster with Durant.”

In short, the likeliness of any Irving trade happening this season is very low.

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