Ever since Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers have been in pursuit of his co-star Kyrie Irving to reunite him with LeBron James in hopes of getting back into championship contention.
The Lakers pursuing Irving makes all the sense in the world considering he would be an upgrade from Russell Westbrook and the best possible player they can get in exchange. Irving has no market outside of the Lakers, so if Brooklyn was to trade him, it would almost have to be to L.A., who he is said to have an interest in playing for long-term.
To no surprise though, the Nets do not have an interest in bringing in Westbrook, which has led to talks stalling with a third team needing to get involved. Regardless though, the Nets are focused on Durant and finding a resolution for him, and until that happens, they are not going to pursue any deals for Irving.
With how long these talks have dragged on, it appears it allowed Irving and the Nets to repair their relationship as NBA insider Ian Begley of SNY is reporting that they are in a good place and he is ready to play for them in 2022-23:
A source close to Irving said this week that the seven-time All-Star is in a good place with the Nets and comfortable entering the 2022-23 season.
It’s possible that this report is just posturing to get the Lakers to offer both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, or it’s also possible that it’s true and the relationship has been repared to the point where Irving will play out the final year of his contract in Brooklyn.
If the latter is the case then the Lakers will have to look elsewhere to find a trade partner for Westbrook, and it appears they are already doing so.
A recent report indicated the Lakers have had three-team trade talks on a deal that would send Westbrook to the rebuilding Utah Jazz, Donovan Mitchell to the New York Knicks and some combination of Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley to L.A.
While a deal doesn’t seem to be imminent, that may be the Lakers’ best option if Irving is staying in Brooklyn.
Durant to meet with Nets ownership
The expectation is that Durant will meet with Nets ownership soon to sort things out. Depending on what comes of that, whether it be him following through with his trade request or retracting it, will likely dictate the rest of the NBA offseason.
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