Kyrie Irving’s trade saga turned upside down once again this offseason after his teammate Kevin Durant had made his intentions clear about leaving the Brooklyn Nets. The decision came days after Irving opted for his $36.5M player option and decided to stay with the Nets. However, with Durant out the door, Kyrie would be keen to reopen the trade communications to reunite with LeBron James at the Los Angeles Lakers.
On Thursday, Durant requested Nets owner Joe Tsai to be traded from the franchise, despite signing a four-year, $198 million extension in August 2021. Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are Durant’s preferred destinations. This is because manager Sean Marks is currently working with KD’s manager Rich Kleiman to find a new trade option. Thus, with Durant gone, Kyrie Irving has no interest in staying with the Nets as well.
Is Irving Leaving The Nets To Join The Lakers?
As per NBA Insider Stephen A. Smith, Irving is still interested in rejoining LeBron with the Lakers as soon as possible. Smith revealed that Irving has been telling people that he wants to be in LA. The seven-time All-Star is interested in donning the purple and gold jersey that Kobe Bryant once wore. However, Irving’s move to the Lakers seems slightly unlikely this season, with the franchise having limited resources and Kyrie opting for a player option. Thus, the 30-year-old would have to possibly move to LA after the season when they would have a $70-80 million cap space available.
Further, there is a possibility that the Nets could negotiate a buyout. It would allow Irving to join the Lakers for the 2022-23 season. Kyrie and James won the championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. However, the former decided to leave the Cavs after winning the championship. Irving reportedly did not want to play under James’ shadow. But now, Irving is willing to join his former teammate in an attempt to win another championship ring this season.
Smith claimed that Kyrie Irving ruined the Nets as they would have won the championship if he played more games. Apparently, Irving has played only 103 games during his time in Brooklyn. He has missed 123 games due to his vaccination status, injuries, and other issues.
Thus, the Lakers could restart the trade talks with the Nets for a possible Westbook trade. However, Brooklyn might end up demanding the first draft picks, which the Lakers are not willing to give up. LA hopes to keep their draft picks to safeguard the roster when James decides to leave. There is also a possibility that the Lakers might go after Irving and Durant together. However, it would be interesting to see how the Lakers pull such big deals off without having much to offer.