Kyrie Irving trades rumors: Lakers, Nets have no leverage over potential deal, report says

The Kyrie Irving saga continues to take several twists and turns, and the latest information suggests there is no traction in a potential deal that would send Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers. according to Shams Charania. The Lakers are one of Irving’s preferred candidates if he is traded from the Brooklyn Nets, and previous reports have suggested a potential deal involving an exchange of Irving and Russell Westbrook could be made, according to Chris Haynes.

However, Charania said Tuesday he’s not sure we’ll see a trade that sends Irving to the Lakers as the Nets continue to try to find the best value in trades for both Irving and Kevin Durant. Irving recently opted out of the final year of his $36.4 million deal, however, after his star teammate Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets. It is believed that the star guard will also be moved. “If Kevin Durant is on the first train, Kyrie Irving will be in the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned,” Brian Windhorst reported last week.

After a season in which he played just 29 games because he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and given his previous injury history, Irving hasn’t played 70 games in a season since 2017, when he was still with Cleveland Cavaliers — The market for the mercurial guard is understandably not as stable as the market for Durant.

However, the Lakers have very little to lose. Irving represents their best shot at adding talent this summer, and he has a past relationship with LeBron James. Both players will be free agents next season, and the Lakers are trying to wrest another title from the pair of LeBron and Anthony Davis. Irving has a lot of negatives, but on the court he would be a much better fit than Westbrook and would greatly increase the Lakers’ title odds.

Of course, trading Westbrook is a lot easier said than done; The Lakers have been trying to do that since the middle of last season, just months after they originally acquired him. He recently opted out of the final year of his $47 million contract, making a trade logistically difficult. Then there’s the fact that he’s far from his prime, but still needs the ball in his hands most of the time to be at all effective.

There really aren’t any basketball situations that make sense, but the Nets are in a bad spot after the Durant trade request and may be willing to take Westbrook as an expiring contract if they can move Irving and extract some trades from the Lakers. In particular, the Nets will be eager to acquire some draft picks given how much they owe the Houston Rockets in the coming years via the James Harden trade.

According to Haynes, draft compensation is currently one of the biggest obstacles to completing a deal, which may be why this potential deal hasn’t gained any traction. The Lakers are also out of a bunch of future draft picks via the Anthony Davis trade and were previously unwilling to add future first-round picks to move Westbrook. However, if they can land Irving, the price could be worth it. Also, the teams apparently disagree on which other players to include. Most notably, the Nets want to move Joe Harris, who has two years and $38.6 million left on his contract and is coming off ankle surgery, while the Lakers are pushing to take Seth Curry instead.

As reported by Charania, it does not appear that a deal is imminent at this stage. But as time goes on, both sides could eventually agree to a deal that would reunite Irving with LeBron and wear the purple and gold.

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