Two of the biggest NBA franchises held a power meeting at the NBA Combine, sparking plenty of Los Angeles Lakers-Brooklyn Nets blockbuster trade rumors. Basketball insider Adam Zagoria reported that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka met with Nets executive Sean Marks but added that is is “unclear what they discussed.”
“Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at the Marriot Marquis this week at the NBA Combine,” Zagoria noted in a series of May 21, 2022 tweets. “Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches? Pelinka asking Marks about Kenny Atkinson is another possibility.”
The meeting is of particular interest given the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving’s future. The Nets star has an opportunity to opt out of his current deal to become a free agent this summer. Kevin Durant is also the latest Nets star to appear frustrated with the state of affairs in Brooklyn.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
The Lakers Could Swap Westbrook for Irving, Says NBA Exec
Following Irving’s recent media tour praising LeBron James, there is a growing buzz around the NBA that the Lakers could be a possible landing spot for the superstar. The Lakers do not have any cap space this offseason and would need to pull off a sign-and-trade with the Nets to have a chance at adding Irving. On the surface, it would seem the Lakers would need to trade Anthony Davis to have any chance at acquiring Irving, but one league executive told Heavy.com’s NBA insider Sean Deveney that L.A. may be able to send Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn instead of their star big man.
“It is trading one problem for another problem but if you are the Lakers, you can live with that,” the NBA exec detailed. “The Nets are reluctant to commit to Kyrie for the long term because, obviously, they do not know how much he’s gonna play. But the Lakers, they’re more willing. Kyrie and LeBron have their own relationship, they would be happy to get back together. And remember, AD and Kyrie have a relationship, too. Kyrie was recruiting Davis to go to Boston three years ago, so they have their connection. On the Lakers side, of course you do it.”
The Lakers would undoubtedly have to attach future draft picks with Westbrook for this proposal to become realistic. Irving would also have to attempt to force his way to Los Angeles in order to reunite with James.
The Lakers Should Keep Their Eyes on Durant’s Status With the Nets
Given the recent history of disgruntled NBA superstars demanding trades, Durant’s situation in Brooklyn is worth monitoring. New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield reported on May 24 that Durant has not spoken with the Nets front office since the team’s abrupt first-round exit. Front Office Sports’ Anthony Puccio believes that Irving’s potential departure could prompt Durant to “demand out.”
“As Winfield notes, Kevin Durant and Nets haven’t spoken since the season ended, and things can get ugly if they don’t re-sign Kyrie Irving,” Puccio detailed in a series of May 25 tweets. “Appears Brooklyn is reluctant on giving Kyrie a long-term deal. It’s common knowledge that Durant is committed to playing with Kyrie Irving. Letting him walk would only open the door for KD to demand out. Marks is playing with fire if he can’t find a middle ground with Kyrie.”
James and Durant have been complimentary of each other throughout their careers. Durant is under contract with the Nets through the 2025-26 season, while James could become a free agent in 2023 if he does not sign a contract extension with the Lakers this summer.