It remains to be seen if the Los Angeles Lakers are able to complete a trade for Kyrie Irving, but the Brooklyn Nets appear to be offering the franchise a bit of a warning. ESPN’s Nick Friedell revealed the Nets’ sentiment about Irving behind close doors.
“Yes [Irving will end up with Lakers], but I’d add this caveat, all the Nets people are sitting there looking around and they’re saying, ‘Okay, LeBron, good luck,'” Friedell noted during a July 11, 2022 episode of “Get Up.” “‘Because we saw what happened in Cleveland. We saw what happened in Boston. We’re seeing what’s happening in Brooklyn right now. You want him in LA. Got for it.'”
Despite the public posturing, the Nets do not sound like a team with a strong desire to wait on dealing Irving. Yet, Brooklyn has been reluctant to take on Russell Westbrook’s $47 million salary which means the Lakers will likely need to involve a third team to help facilitate a blockbuster trade.
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The Lakers Have Been Resistant to Including Draft Picks in a Westbrook Deal
According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Nets are pushing the Lakers to include multiple draft picks in exchange for taking on Westbrook’s contract, something Los Angeles has thus far been unwilling to do. If the two teams cannot reach an agreement, the Lakers may need to find a third team willing to add Westbrook in order to make a deal for Irving happen. Two franchises to watch as potential third teams are the Spurs and Pacers, per Scotto.
“Currently, the Lakers don’t want to give up multiple first-round picks to trade Russell Westbrook, league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote on July 12. “In the speculated blockbuster trade of Westbrook and Irving, the Nets would likely want a first-round pick to move Irving and take on Westbrook. The Nets would likely want an additional first-rounder to entice another team like the Spurs or Pacers to take Westbrook as the third team in a deal.”
Brooklyn May Not Deal Kyrie Until They Find a KD Trade
There is pressure on the Lakers to make a significant move with LeBron James eligible to sign a contract extension this offseason. If no new deal is agreed upon, James will become a free agent in 2023. All signs point to James being an advocate for the Lakers acquiring Irving, but Los Angeles may need to wait until the Nets find a deal for Kevin Durant.
“League sources maintain that the Nets are A) focused on trying to assemble a palatable Kevin Durant trade before proceeding to Irving scenarios and B) adamant in their resistance to taking back Westbrook in a theoretical Irving swap without, for starters, some first-round draft compensation added by the Lakers,” NBA insider Marc Stein wrote on July 9. “Westbrook, remember, is scheduled to earn nearly $11 million more than Irving next season, which would cost Brooklyn an additional $50 million once luxury-tax penalties are factored in according to a piece earlier this week from my Bleacher Report colleague Jake Fischer.”