The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Kyrie Irving throughout the offseason, but some NBA insiders believe it is another Brooklyn Nets superstar that general manager Rob Pelinka should be pursuing. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus surveyed league executives along with insiders on what the Lakers’ next move should be with Russell Westbrook, but another name came up in the conversations.
Should the Lakers explore swapping Anthony Davis for Kevin Durant? One person suggested the Lakers push to acquire both Durant and Irving in a blockbuster deal centered around Davis along with Westbrook.
“Kyrie is the move. They should offer Davis with Westbrook,” the NBA insider detailed for the July 28, 2022 Bleacher Report feature. “Try and get Kevin Durant. KD for AD and a pick is as close as [the Nets] will get to what they want.”
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Is Davis a More Preferable Option for the Nets Than Brown?
Durant is beginning a four-year, $194 million deal that runs through the 2025-26 season, which should increase his trade value. With multiple NBA superstars pushing for trades in spite of their contracts, this long-term security may not carry the same value as it did in previous eras.
The Nets have been linked to trade talks with the Celtics centered around star wing Jaylen Brown. Would a potential deal for Davis be more valuable for the Nets than potentially landing Brown? The Ringer’s Bill Simmons has Davis ranked at No. 12 slightly above Brown’s No. 19 position in the analyst’s latest trade value chart.
“The Celtics offered Brown, guard Derrick White and a draft pick to the Nets for Durant, sources said,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote on July 25. “The proposal was rejected, and Brooklyn has asked Boston — in any proposal — to include Brown, Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, draft picks and potentially one more rotation player, those sources added. Currently, the Celtics are less inclined to include Smart along with multiple other player assets or pick assets, but the franchise is mulling over next steps on how to approach discussions.”
Would the Lakers Consider Trading Anthony Davis?
The quickest way for the Lakers to potentially improve the team’s roster is by trading Davis. This has obvious complications as the Lakers would likely want LeBron James to sign off any potential Davis deal given the big man is a Klutch Sports client. During a recent conversation with Heavy.com’s NBA insider Sean Deveney, one Western Conference executive outlined Davis’ current trade value.
“If they put Anthony Davis on the market now, at age 29, they’d be looking at something around what the Jazz got [for Rudy Gobert], probably a better up-front player if that is what they want,” the executive remarked. “If they want the four or five first-rounders, they’d get that.
“Now, it is not going to be what they gave up for him, all the picks and Brandon Ingram and Lonzo [Ball], Josh Hart, all of that. But it would be one of the 10 biggest packages you get. I know Davis has been hurt and that is going to turn down his value but everyone is going to look at him and think, ‘OK, we can keep him healthy, he’ll play for us.’ That’s what is going to matter.”
The Lakers are still unlikely to move Davis, even if it meant pairing Durant with James. Prior to Durant’s trade request, a Western Conference general manager spoke with Deveney about why the Lakers would be hesitant to trade Davis in a hypothetical deal for Durant.
“Going the other way, if Durant wants to go to the Lakers, that gets harder,” the GM said prior to Durant’s trade request. “He is signed through (2026) so you’ve got to make a trade and the only thing they can do would be Anthony Davis for KD. I think LeBron feels some responsibility for getting Davis to Los Angeles and he wants that to work, so there’s not much chance they would trade him. But if Davis can go play with Kyrie, who he is close with, maybe that changes the math on that.
“It’s an earthquake kind of trade and it’s a slim chance. But if Durant is really unhappy and they can get everyone on the same page, maybe it works for everyone. Never say never in this league.”