Lakers Rumors: L.A. Not Interested In Including Austin Reaves Or Max Christie In Trade Package For Nets’ Kyrie Irving
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Things are beginning to heat up ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving requesting a trade and the Los Angeles Lakers among the interested teams.

It’s no secret that the Lakers would like to land Irving after they pursued him last summer, hoping to upgrade from Russell Westbrook at the point guard position.

The Nets don’t seem to have interest in Westbrook though, so if the Lakers are going to get a deal done they are either going to have to tempt them with more assets or find a third team to take Westbrook back.

While the Lakers appear willing to include both of their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, L.A. would like to keep their two young players in Austin Reaves and Max Christie:

The Lakers have interest in acquiring Irving, according to multiple league sources who were granted anonymity to speak freely on the subject. The framework of a potential deal would be Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks — with the Lakers pushing to add lottery protection to at least one of them — in exchange for Irving and another Nets role player (likely Joe Harris), according to those sources. Depending on how the Nets value the Lakers’ picks and what happens with Kevin Durant in the wake of this news, the Lakers could reroute one of their picks to a third team, who would then send additional players to Brooklyn to help the Nets remain competitive.

The situation remains fluid. The going cost to get a team to take on Westbrook and his $47.1 million salary has been one first-round pick at a minimum since last summer. But given Irving’s on-court pedigree and play this season, the Lakers would almost certainly have to include both first-round picks. Protecting one of those picks could result in the Nets asking for the Lakers to perhaps include Austin Reaves or Max Christie, two of the Lakers’ promising young role players. But the Lakers aren’t interested in including either in a potential package, according to those sources.

Reaves and Christie have both been key contributors this season and have bright futures, so it makes sense that the Lakers would want to keep them.

If Brooklyn demands at least one of them being in the package though, it will be interesting to see if that is a deal-breaker for Rob Pelinka or if he is ultimately willing to meet their price.

As L.A. looks for roster upgrades ahead of the deadline to get back into championship contention, there are no better realistic options than Irving from a basketball perspective. It’s unclear how many suitors the 30-year-old will have outside of the Lakers, although the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns are reported to have interest as well.

James seems to be on board with L.A. trading for Irving

One person who seems to be in favor of the Lakers making a blockbuster trade for Irving is his former teammate LeBron James. He posted a cryptic tweet with the eyeball emoji after Irving’s trade request, perhaps putting even more pressure on the front office to get a deal done.

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