Of course, the deal would need to include further compensation for Brooklyn, as they look to maximize their returns after the worst possible start to an off-season. Still, according to Jason Smith of Fox Sports Radio, Irving’s arrival in Los Angeles is a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.
Irving missed most of last season due to his vaccination status, participating in just 29 regular-season games, where he averaged 27.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. Still, the notion of pairing Irving with Lebron James and Anthony Davis seems to be too much of an opportunity to pass up, and when their Lakers set their sights on a star, they usually get their way. However, the irony of trading away Westbrook – the team’s most durable star, for another guard who has failed to participate in more than 60 games in eight out of his 11 seasons, hasn’t been lost on anybody.
Lakers ‘Actively’ Engaged in Negotiations
According to a report by Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes, the Lakers and Nets are actively engaged in negotiations, and there is a ‘palpable excitement’ between the two parties that a deal can be agreed.
“The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that would send star point guard Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn in exchange for star point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources told Yahoo Sports. There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said,” Haynes wrote for Yahoo on July 2.
Making the money work, and agreeing on future draft compensation are the two most logical sticking points at this early juncture at the negotiating table, but given Irving’s desire to leave Brooklyn, and Westbrook’s damaged relationship with Laker fans, it makes sense for both sides to reach an agreement.
‘No Traction’ Between Lakers and Nets in Negotiations
On July 4, ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski discussed the current negotiations happening behind the scenes with the Lakers and Nets and noted how there is ‘no traction’ between the two sides on a potential deal – either for Irving or for his superstar teammate Kevin Durant.
“Similar to Durant, I think there’s a very slow-moving market right now…The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive, in trying to put a deal together to get him from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there’s no traction with deals for Irving or Durant…There’s a lot of time left in this off-season,” Wojnarowski said on Inside the NBA.
The Lakers suffered the ignominy of missing the playoffs last season, courtesy of failing to qualify for the play-in tournament, so it’s clear what their motivations behind pursuing Irving are. Still, LeBron has played with Irving before, winning a championship with him in 2016 while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it’s highly likely the duo believe they can repeat that feat in Los Angeles alongside Davis.