All of the current focus in the NBA is on what the Brooklyn Nets will do with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving after the former officially requested a trade at the beginning of the offseason.
While there are a number of teams with reported interest in Durant, the same cannot be said for Irving as the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be the only team that makes sense to match up on a deal for Brooklyn.
The Lakers don’t have a ton to offer the Nets, which is why no deal has come to fruition yet. Any Lakers offer would have to include Russell Westbrook for salary-matching purposes, and considering Brooklyn seems to have no interest in the Lakers’ current point guard, L.A. may need to figure out how to get a third team involved.
The easiest way for the Lakers to entice the Nets or a third team to take Westbrook would be to include draft compensation as well, and L.A. has its 2027 and 2029 first-round picks available to offer.
According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype though, the Lakers have been unwilling to include both picks so far:
Currently, the Lakers don’t want to give up multiple first-round picks to trade Russell Westbrook, league sources told HoopsHype. In the speculated blockbuster trade of Westbrook and Irving, the Nets would likely want a first-round pick to move Irving and take on Westbrook. The Nets would likely want an additional first-rounder to entice another team like the Spurs or Pacers to take Westbrook as the third team in a deal.
Considering there don’t seem to be any other teams even offering anything for Irving, it wouldn’t make sense for the Lakers to bid against themselves by increasing their offer at this time.
L.A. ultimately shouldn’t let one extra draft pick get in the way of completing a deal though considering swapping Westbrook for Irving may be their only path to contention in 2022-23.
The San Antonio Spurs could potentially be the third team the Lakers need to get a deal done since they have available cap space, but again, would need draft compensation to get involved.
Pelinka talks with Marks at Summer League
The NBA Summer League provides an opportunity for league executives to speak in person since everyone is in Las Vegas, and that was the case with Rob Pelinka and Nets general manager Sean Marks as they were seen talking at a recent game.
It’s unlikely that they were putting a deal together while courtside in an arena full of people, but it’s possible that talks have been ongoing and that was a chance to touch base shortly.
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