Source: Lakers have expressed confidence in landing Nets' Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook, first-round pick package
The day after Kyrie Irving made his trade request, members of the Lakers expressed confidence that they would ultimately be able to land Irving for a package that included Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick.
As of late Saturday night, one team with a degree of interest in Irving believed strongly that the Lakers’ preferred package would be the best offer for Irving.
Of course, teams have five days to put together offers. So things can change by the hour.
The Mavericks, Clippers and Suns are other teams with reported interest in Irving (Some people with the Clippers downplayed their interest in Irving late Saturday night. And, no, the Knicks hadn’t registered significant interest in Irving as of late Saturday night).
Multiple teams with interest in Irving want the point guard to accept a shorter deal than the four-year pact he’d be able to get in free agency, as we noted on Saturday.
The Athletic reported on Sunday that the Lakers only want to give Irving a two-year, $78 million extension he can sign as part of a trade to Los Angeles.
Irving had been seeking a four-year deal from the Nets in extension discussions. It’s fair to assume that he’d want a four-year deal from the team that acquires him via trade.
That’s a potential hurdle in any Irving trade discussion. The team that trades for him would presumably need an assurance that he’s going to re-sign with them in free agency.
Aside from that, the biggest questions between now and Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline are pretty straightforward:
Will any team make the Nets an offer that surpasses the Lakers offer, which includes Westbrook and a first-round pick?
If not, will the Nets accept the Lakers’ preferred offer and acquiesce to Irving’s trade request?
The answer to those questions will have ramifications well beyond the deadline for the Nets and Irving.
As an aside, the Nets and Hawks had continued to touch base on a deal involving John Collins prior to the Irving request. Irving’s request stalls those talks, you’d think.
According to the New York Post, Irving is considering sitting out the rest of the season if he isn’t traded. One member of an organization with interest in trading for Irving expressed pessimism that Irving would sit. “He’d almost kill his chances of getting a long-term deal (in the summer of 2023),” they said.
Even if he plays, Irving has already made it known that he’d leave the Nets in free agency this summer if he’s not traded. With that looming, will Kevin Durant re-request a trade in the offseason? Would he do so before Thursday’s trade deadline? That’s what teams monitoring the Irving situation are wondering (Durant’s absence from the Nets’ home win over Washington on Saturday only fueled that speculation).
The Durant factor is significant. As part of his trade request over the summer, Durant reportedly issued an ultimatum to Nets owner Joe Tsai: fire Steve Nash and Sean Marks, or trade me.
Both Irving and Durant were turned off by Marks’ public comments about Irving after the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
Nash was let go early in the season amid Brooklyn’s slow start. Marks remains. He has a close relationship with Tsai.
Seven months after the Durant trade saga, Marks is navigating yet another trade request from one of the Nets’ stars. Tsai and Marks held firm on not offering Irving a max contract over the summer. They’ve obviously taken the same approach this season.
Will Tsai and Marks accept a trade package that leaves them with Durant and a diminished chance to win a title? Or will they hold firm and bet on Irving honoring his contract and giving Brooklyn the best chance to win a title?
The stakes couldn’t be higher for all parties involved at the moment.