Once Kyrie Irving decided to exercise his player option, it looked like he was going to play out his contract with the Brooklyn Nets. Prior to that, there was chatter that he’d decline the option and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on a mid-level exception contract. With Kevin Durant deciding to request a trade, the door has reopened for Irving to get traded.
In fact, it’s starting to look like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be moved and Los Angeles is ready to pounce. If a third team isn’t added to a possible trade, the Nets will need to send over a player along with Irving to match Russell Westbrook’s contract. Joe Harris seemed like the obvious fit due to his shooting ability but the Lakers are eyeing another guard, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
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.
Curry is on an expiring $8.5 million deal.
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Curry Makes Sense as Addition to Trade
While Curry has lived in the shadow of his brother, two-time MVP Steph Curry, he’s a good player himself. Similar to his brother, he’s an elite 3-point shooter. He’s 43.9% of his threes over his career. Adding Irving for Westbrook would give the Lakers a big shooting boost but they’ll still need more.
Curry would provide one of the most reliable shooters in the league today. In the process, the Lakers would get off of the worst shooters in the NBA in Westbrook. Plus, Curry is on an expiring contract, which makes him even more valuable. Harris is also a great shooter but he’s more expensive and on a longer deal.
There’s Optimism That a Trade Will Happen
It’s starting to appear that a trade that sends Irving to Los Angeles will happen. According to Haynes, the two sides are engaged in trade talks and things are looking good so far:
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.
The biggest obstacle facing a trade is that the Lakers are apprehensive to give up future picks. However, Westbrook is an even more toxic asset than Irving so Los Angeles is going to have to make it worth the Nets’ time. A trade is gaining momentum but Haynes is reporting that talks have only been preliminary so far.