The Brooklyn Nets are about to enter the most crucial offseason and free agency period in the history of the franchise. Several of Brooklyn’s players from the 2022 roster are scheduled to hit the free-agent market on July 1, and one huge domino remains in limbo. That is their All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who has a player option on his contract for next year. Kyrie can opt into the final year of his deal or opt-out and test the free-agent market.
Multiple reports have confirmed that the Nets are noncommittal on offering Irving a max extension. After playing only 29 games in 2022, his future with the franchise has come into question. If Irving and the Nets were to part ways, Brooklyn is open to a sign and trade for the All-NBA guard. On a recent episode of “The Ringer” podcast, NBA insider Kevin O’Connor suggests a trade that sends Kyrie to the Los Angeles Lakers, as heard through Eric Richter of the “New York Post”.
“A possible trade destination discussed was Irving in a three-team deal where Irving ended up in LA. Russell Westbrook goes somewhere with cap room (the Thunder would make sense). The Nets would get two Lakers first-round picks (likely more, too) and, most importantly, a $40 million trade exception.,” Richter writes.
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Net Can Use Trade Assets To Add Third Star
O’Connor also notes that this could be the first of a two-part trade for the Nets. They could use the assets acquired from the Lakers in the trade to include in a trade package that lands them another star and creates a new ‘Big 3’ in Brooklyn.
“The massive trade exception combined with picks from the Lakers and picks from the 76ers acquired in the James Harden deal could be enough to land a legitimate two-way player that will actually play a full season,” O’Connor suggests via the “New York Post”.
“Possible options for the Nets to trade for at that point would include Donovan Mitchell, Zach Lavine, Damian Lillard, and Bradley Beal, to name a few. This scenario could make them significantly more reliable as an NBA Finals bet for 2023.”
Trade Proposal Benefits Kyrie and Westbrook
The trade, as bizarre as it may seem, works in favor of both players. Russell Westbrook had one of the worst seasons of his career last year with the Lakers, avering his lowest points per game since his second year in the league. Though his best days may be behind him, going to a non-contender in a veteran role without the pressure to compete for the title may be just what the doctor ordered.
Kyrie won a championship with LeBron in 2016 but has not returned to the big stage since then. His two-year stint with the Boston Celtics was a failure, which ended in a nasty divorce. And his time with the Nets has been underwhelming, to say the least. Reuniting with a familiar teammate in James could help him get to the mountaintop.
What the future holds for Kyrie and the Nets remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see what the fallout from the free agency period will be.