After a short period of excitement near the beginning of free agency, the Kyrie Irving-to-Los Angeles Lakers rumors have died down — with L.A.’s fans told to brace for a long summer.
Irving has been in Los Angeles recently, helping Phil Handy run practice drills at the Lakers assistant coach’s basketball camp. But there’s been virtually no traction regarding the Brooklyn Nets playmaker’s rumored reunion with LeBron James.
NBA insiders predicted the negotiations between the Lakers and the Nets could drag on when Kevin Durant requested a trade in late June — suggesting Brooklyn would hold off on parting with Irving before figuring out Durant’s future.
But some of the domino tiles might soon start to fall. Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett reports a league executive claims Durant will meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai this week to talk about his future:
“What I’m hearing is that KD is going to meet with the owner this week,” the source told Heavy Sports. “He’s going to go directly to the owner, Joseph Tsai, sometime this week. We’ll see how that works.”
When the reports of the Boston Celtics’ offer for Durant came out last week, they claimed Durant was still looking to leave Brooklyn. And the league executive is reportedly unsure whether Tsai will be able to make the disgruntled Nets star happy:
“I don’t know,” said the exec. “I have no idea what’s going to come of that meeting. There are some things that KD is unhappy about, and I’m not sure any of that gets fixed here. But maybe it does.”
However, the executive thinks Durant will remain with the Nets after all — and that if Brooklyn ends up trading one of the team’s stars, it will be Irving:
“My bet is they don’t trade either one of them,” said the latter source. “Maybe Kyrie. I don’t see them trading Durant, because they’re not going to get back what they should. And I wouldn’t trade him either. The hell with it. He signed the deal. The hell with it, right?
“I don’t see KD being a hard line guy, either. If they can’t get a deal done, he’s just going to say, ‘[Expletive] it,’ and he’ll play — and he’ll play hard like he always does. I know KD, and he’s not going to sit out or anything like that. He’s not that kind of guy. There’s no way. He’s not going to do anything like that.
“If Brooklyn wants to be good now, the fastest way to that is KD and Kyrie and (Ben) Simmons together playing well. With anything else, you’re pretty much scrambling this season and waiting for those draft picks to bring you something good down the line. No matter who you bring back in a trade now, he’s not going to be KD.”
The Lakers are reportedly bidding against only themselves in their pursuit of Irving. However, L.A. is also believed to be particularly wary of trading their future draft picks this summer, further adding to the impasse in negotiations for the 30-year-old guard.
Cavaliers ‘not proceeding with intention’ of luring James away from Lakers
Besides pondering offseason signings, the Lakers have to start negotiating with James, who will become eligible to pen a two-year, $97 million extension on Aug. 4.
The four-time NBA champion has reportedly been happy in L.A. However, his comments about a potential reunion with the Cleveland Cavaliers sent shockwaves through the Lakers faithful earlier this year.
But the latest reports claim the Cavaliers aren’t planning on bringing James back to Cleveland again.