After building so much momentum last week, trade talks between the Lakers and Nets seem to have slowed down. While the conversation between the two teams continues, Kyrie Irving’s arrival at Lakerland no longer feels so imminent.
Now, there’s a growing sense that Brooklyn isn’t the only option for the Lakers to drop Russell Westbrook’s contract.
Let’s take a look at the latest headlines and rumours.
Much of the appeal of Kyrie Irving to Lakers fans is that he represents the best and, at one point, only player available who would represent a clear upgrade over Westbrook.
However, as free agency unfolded, perhaps predictably, a few more options presented themselves, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on nba today Wednesday (via daily networks).
Then there’s the Lakers’ motivation. Have looked at other offers. They continued to, I know, control Eric Gordon in Houston. He without a doubt he is a player that interests them. Buddy Hield in Indiana … the Lakers are certainly looking at the market, but there is no doubt that Kyrie Irving is one of them.”
Wojnarowski’s report supports that of Dave McMenamin, who mentioned the same names as potential Plan B options for the Lakers in the event an Irving deal doesn’t materialize.
The names are two that fans are familiar with and the team has long been associated with. They also represent realistic options since the Pacers have already offloaded Malcolm Brogdon and could soon do the same for Hield, while the Rockets are several years into a rebuild.
However, discussing backup plans doesn’t mean the chances of landing Kyrie Irving now are nil.
Lakers-Nets continue to have arguments
As much as the Lakers are looking for Plan B, Plan A is still Kyrie, and talks with the Nets remain open, as Wojnarowski also reported Wednesday (again via Twitter). daily networks).
“I think that’s another consideration that Brooklyn has to make as to whether it’s positive or negative to move Kyrie Irving before or after Kevin Durant. The market is certainly very different for Kevin Durant than it is for Kyrie Irving.”
“The Nets have talked to the Lakers and I think there has been back and forth, some communication. Look at where there’s cap space right now and a team like San Antonio could be an enabler right now in, say, a Russell Westbrook-for-Kyrie Irving deal between the teams. They have the cap space. Now, you have to incentivize them at a pretty high level and I think that’s the Lakers’ willingness to incentivize a deal with multiple draft picks. I think that’s part of the reason the deal hasn’t gone anywhere yet.”
“That could always change. Rob Pelinka and Sean Marks are in Vegas this week and moving on. I’m sure they’ll have conversations there, but I think that’s part of the equation for Brooklyn, right? Do they handle the Kevin Durant deal first and then look at this?
It looks like things are being put on hold until Summer League, when teams and the front office can have face-to-face meetings that could lead to more things getting done. But until then, it appears talks are largely on hold unless there is some kind of unexpected breakthrough.
Even then, the Lakers remain the favorites to sign Irving not only because they’re one of the only teams interested, but because Kyrie wants to be in Los Angeles for the long haul.
Kyrie wants LA
Perhaps the aspect of these negotiations that hasn’t been discussed enough is the fact that Kyrie wants to be in Los Angeles. Considering he has an expiring contract, that will influence any other team to trade for him and is almost certainly one reason no other team has really emerged as a suitor.
On Wednesday, after Wojnarowski’s report on nba today, McMenamin added that Irving he had “signaled” that he was focused on getting to Southern California.
If Irving is focused on Los Angeles, then giving up assets for a rental is failure enough. And when that player is Kyrie, he’s all kinds of “No!” from other teams.
For the Lakers, the only reason this is intriguing is because of how bad the Westbrook situation is. No one else has that kind of situation that makes the Lakers the Nets’ only potential business partner willing to trade anything for him. It’s also why the Lakers saying they can have backup plans carries some weight, while the Nets’ bluffing carries little.
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