It’s been three days since the NBA’s free agency period began, and all signs still indicate the Lakers are adamant on acquiring Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving in a possible trade for Russell Westbrook. Yahoo Sports insider Chris Haynes was the latest to report that both the Lakers and Nets are working to finalize an Irving-Westbrook-focused trade in some way.
However, Haynes also mentioned that the discussion to bring Irving to Los Angeles remains preliminary, which is the latest in a series of multiple reports suggesting that the Lakers are at least waiting out the fallout from Kevin Durant’s impending departure from Brooklyn before making any more moves. It seems the Nets, who are having a nightmare offseason with all of this, are prioritizing trading Durant first over Irving.
According to Jovan Buha of the athleticthe purples and golds are also waiting for the aftermath of Durant’s departure before signing more free agents (or making any other moves) this summer.
After consecutive injury-plagued seasons in which their supporting cast failed to stay healthy, the Lakers opted for a more conservative approach in free agency. As it is, the Lakers have 13 players on their roster. The current plan is to wait for the Kevin Durant saga to end and see which free agents slip away.
Kyle Goon from The CO Registry similarly reported, and that the Lakers will have to be patient before welcoming Irving to Los Angeles.
The feeling in the NBA is that Brooklyn’s first priority is trading Kevin Durant, who could command the richest package of players and picks in league history. Once that deal is concluded — and right now, there is such a flurry of interest that it may take a while to unpack — the Nets will turn their attention to trading Irving, who has been a constant source of drama and tension since his arrival in Brooklyn. .
So did ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who also said negotiations to acquire Irving will have to be put on hold while the Nets continue to search for the best possible Durant package. Note that the Nets are still in ongoing talks with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, both of which Durant indicated were his desired destinations, with the Toronto Raptors reportedly also in the mix.
What remains tricky in this scenario is that Brooklyn wants more than the Suns and Heat can offer for Durant, which means their goal is to bring in another team or two to form the best possible trade package. This just means the Lakers have to wait until the Nets are satisfied with the best deal for Durant in order to advance their chances of acquiring Irving.
So before Lakers fans celebrate their impending divorce from Westbrook in exchange for Irving (who is an exponentially better fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis), they should remember that there are plenty of complications ahead as Brooklyn decides how to deal with Durant. .
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst summed it up perfectly here in his latest appearance on the morning radio show “Keyshawn, JWill & Max” (emphasis mine):
“The Nets can’t make a decision on why they’re going to trade Kyrie until they know what’s on their roster and, more importantly, what’s on their books. So Kyrie and specifically the Lakers are going to have to wait… Russell Westbrook makes $11 million more than Kyrie Irving and they can’t be traded for each other. Now, they can be traded with each other per league rules, but you can’t just ignore that extra $11 million. It’s possible the extra $11 million could blow up the Nets’ payroll on the luxury tax. It’s possible the Nets end up in a sign-and-trade where they get a player in a sign-and-trade as part of the Durant deal, they’re going to be hard-capped and can’t even do that. agreement.
“Then I will tell you directly Key, since this is what you want, Kyrie Irving wants to be a Laker is the signal he is sending. The only place he wants to be is with the Lakers.”
So it looks like the most vital offseason move (and the ones that come after) the Lakers intend to make is far from complete. Or is that it? As he was writing this blog, SNY’s Ian Begley reported the following:
“The Nets and Lakers got in touch about a possible trade centered on Kyrie Irving (and) Russell Westbrook on Saturday… I was told that, at least on the Lakers side, there was some optimism about having momentum to make something here in the near future, potentially as soon as Sunday … But with the Nets, it really all revolves around Kevin Durant, his trade request and how they proceed there …
“A lot of things are up in the air right now in the league, and a lot of things are going to be discussed on Saturday and Sunday night, and we’ll see if we get to the finish line on any of these things.”
.@IanBegley reports that there is momentum toward a Kyrie Irving-Russell Westbrook trade between the Nets and the Lakers, along with notes on the potential destinations of Kevin Durant and whether the Nets would hang on to Russell Westbrook if they acquire him from the Lakers:
— Network Videos (@SNYNets) July 3, 2022
To summarize: The Lakers and the Nets are…
- Speaking of a Kyrie Irving trade, preliminarily at least.
- Could make a deal this weekend
- It could also wait until the Kevin Durant trade is complete.
If that makes it sound like anything can happen… That’s because it can. So buckle up. If you’re one of the many Lakers fans getting impatient and excited about all the Kyrie Irving news and rumors, I suggest you sit back and practice life’s most important virtue: patience. Everything indicates that this is far from over.
Unless it almost is.
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