As the Nets and Lakers come to an impasse when it comes to discussing a Kyrie Irving trade, the negotiation leverage plays have been underway. Apparently, the two sides are locked in on the details of the trade and whether Joe Harris or Seth Curry agrees with the Lakers on the deal.
Now, the Nets seem to make it clear that they don’t think they need to trade Kyrie … much like the Lakers believe Russell Westbrook will be on the roster and focus on being an impactful defensive player.
Here’s a look at the latest reports and rumors about the potential exchange.
lack of traction
Based on the number of reports, it seems pretty clear that the Lakers and Nets at least had some discussions The semantics around those discussions can be discussed and debated, but they happened.
Along the same lines, how far these discussions have gone remains up in the air as Shams Charania of the athletic stated on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday.
However, to say that there is no traction seems a bit of an exaggeration. Again, it’s this debate about the semantics that surrounds the discussions. Are they preliminary? Do they have traction? Very few people know the real answer to any of that and even then, they may disagree.
Is a trade even inevitable?
Part of what has made a trade feel like a certainty is how Kyrie has burned the bridges in Brooklyn over the past calendar year. From missing the season for refusing to get vaccinated to flirting with the idea of leaving them this offseason, it feels inevitable that his days with the Nets are over …
…or one would think.
According to Brian Lewis of the New York Postthe Nets are weighing the possibility of simply trading neither Irving nor Kevin Durant (emphasis mine).
With tons of offers for Durant, but none they couldn’t refuse and in no hurry to move him, the Nets are creating a sense that they could bring the forward (and maybe even Irving) to camp and see if all sides can make this work. Or else, all is well until a world trade proposal is made.
The Lakers are desperate to move Russell Westbrook and his mammoth $47 million contract for Irving, but are hesitant to include the multiple draft picks the Nets would want for all that money.
Yahoo Sports and The Athletic reported last week that the Nets could solve the problem by including Joe Harris in any Irving-Westbrook trade.
Honestly, if the Nets are considering this, go for it. Objectively, the funniest outcome would be for the Nets to pretend none of this happened and just head into training camp and preseason like everything was fine.
Realistically, this is probably what a lot of NBA fans and even Lakers fans felt when they were bragging about bringing back Russell Westbrook. But this one feels even more fun. Durant went to the owner for a trade, Kyrie held the franchise hostage for at least a few days.
But yes, everything is fine. She rerun it.
Pelinka’s forced hand
LeBron James’ desire to re-team with Kyrie Irving certainly has some weight in this. The two are a title-winning duo, but things obviously ended prematurely in Cleveland. Los Angeles represents an opportunity, now, to return to running.
And that alone might be enough to push the Lakers in that direction. During a Spotify Live on Sunday, Marc Stein spoke with Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report who talked about the dynamic of LeBron pushing for Kyrie.
“LeBron has a lot to do with Kyrie coming back and I don’t think Rob Pelinka has the juice, so to speak, to decide that the Lakers are going to move away from Kyrie Irving (who) LeBron has basically pushed to make it happen or at least “. least he agreed to make it happen.”
LeBron doesn’t have the perfect track record in hunting down specific superstars, with Russ being the most obvious example. But he’s also the same guy who pushed for Anthony Davis, so we’ll say he’s shooting 50%, that being the tiebreaker.
For various reasons, Pelinka probably doesn’t have much clout to say no to LeBron. For one thing, it’s LeBron who is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension this summer. The Lakers are in a place where they don’t necessarily have to bend over backwards for LeBron, but they also can’t afford to say no outright.
It’s an unenviable position, but it probably means he has to listen to LeBron on this one.
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