Lakers in Trade Talks to Unload Russell Westbrook in Blockbuster Deal: Report

Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be linked with a potential trade with the Brooklyn Nets that would see Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook swap places heading into next season.

According to a report from Yahoo Sport’s Chris Haynes, the two teams have entered into preliminary discussions about a trade, but are still some way from reaching an agreement, although there does seem to be ‘palpable optimism about a deal getting done.

“There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said…The Nets maintain discussions have only been preliminary at this point, sources said,” Haynes wrote on July 2.

Westbrook’s future has been a looming question for the Lakers since the end of last season when they failed to reach the post-season and the superstar guard’s relationship quickly deteriorated over the final months.

Additional Trade Pieces Proving to be Sticking Points

While Brooklyn is clearly resigned to losing Irving should the right offer become available, they’re not going to give up their star point guard for a minimal return. And, according to Haynes, it would seem that the additional framework of any potential trade, seems to be slowing down the early discussions between the two sides.

“Draft compensation is an ongoing talking point for the Nets and they want shooting guard Joe Harris — who is recovering from left ankle surgery — and his remaining $38.6 million owed over the next two years included in the deal, sources said. The Lakers have been disinclined to the inclusion of Harris, and are instead seeking the insertion of sharpshooter Seth Curry as part of the arrangement, sources said…The Nets are not expected to be rushed into a deal and will continue conversing the complex specifics with the Lakers on an Irving-Westbrook swap,” Haynes noted in his July 2 report.

From a Lakers perspective, it makes sense to resist the Nets’ inclination to remove Harris from their tax bill. The six-foot-six sharpshooting wing missed a significant portion of last season due to ankle surgery, and may not be back to full fitness for another month or two. Harris is still an elite shooter and has some exceptional off-ball movement.

Over the 414 regular season games Harris has participated in, he has averaged 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 43.9% from deep and 54.2% from the field. However, with his current injury, the Lakers may be slightly apprehensive to take on the final two years of his $75 million contract.

Adding Both Durant and Irving is ‘Feasible’

Although most Lakers fans would love for it to become a reality, it’s highly unlikely that we see Kevin Durant and Irving continue their partnership on a new team. Figuring out a trade that contains multiple superstars is simply too difficult a task, however, according to ESPN’S Brian Windhorst, continuing to pair the two players together might not be realistic, but it is feasible.

'The Lakers are desperate!' – Brian Windhorst on Kyrie Irving & KD BOTH going to L.A. | First Take'The Lakers are desperate!' – Brian Windhorst on Kyrie Irving & KD BOTH going to L.A. | First Take Brian Windhorst, Freddie Coleman and Courtney Cronin discuss Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, along with Kyrie Irving's future. #ESPN #NBA #FirstTake ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe…2022-07-01T14:59:48Z

“The feasibility of the two of them staying together and playing for another team makes sense for the Los Angeles Lakers…The feasibility is way up here. The likelihood is waaaaay down here. And so you know what happens with the Laker fans, especially, they hear that and their eyes get real big and they get real excited…I just think it was important for me to point out the feasibility existed,” Windhorst said on a June 24 episode of First Take. 

So, while it’s possible to make the numbers work, the likelihood is that we will probably see Irving team up with LeBron and Anthony Davis in the near future, but Durant will be heading elsewhere in the league to begin the next chapter in his career. Now, it’s all about remaining patient, and waiting to see if the Lakers and Nets can agree on a deal that works for both parties.

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