The NBA trade deadline is just around the corner, and the biggest topic of conversation amongst Los Angeles Lakers fans is if the team will trade for Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving.
After Irving and the Nets were unable to agree on an extension, the All-Star requested a trade ahead of Thursday’s deadline. The Lakers have had reported interest in Irving for a while now, looking to flip Russell Westbrook and draft picks to reunite him with LeBron James and form a Big 3 with Anthony Davis.
The Lakers aren’t the only team in pursuit of Irving though as the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and most recently L.A. Clippers have reported interest as well.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN though, there is mutual interest between Irving and the Lakers with James pushing for a deal to get made:
Irving has not given the Nets a list of preferred destinations, but there’s a strong mutual interest with him and the Lakers that goes back to the summer. LeBron James is an immense proponent of making a deal for his former Cavaliers teammate, and the Lakers are operating as a motivated suitor for Irving, sources said.
James seemed to confirm this report in his postgame comments on Saturday night:
LeBron was asked if Kyrie is a piece that can help get the Lakers to the finish line, and he started his answer by saying "that's a Rob [Pelinka] question," but ended it by also saying "that's a 'duh' question."
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) February 5, 2023
This isn’t the first time Irving has asked out as a similar situation occurred over the summer before he ultimately stayed in Brooklyn. This situation is different though as Wojnarowski is reporting that Irving is likely to be dealt ahead of Thursday’s deadline:
The Nets are proceeding in talks throughout the league as though they’re determined to find a deal for Irving ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET, sources said. Brooklyn has been working to find deals that can keep them in contention with the relatively imminent return of All-NBA star Kevin Durant, who’s been out since mid-January with an MCL sprain.
James and Irving won a championship together with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers star has been very vocal about wanting to continue to compete for rings, so it’s not surprising to see him lobbying for a deal.
Wojnarowski later reported on ESPN that the Lakers are a team to watch for in the Irving sweepstakes. They have their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to offer, but Brooklyn is believed to be looking for win-now pieces. If that’s the case then Rob Pelinka may have to find a third team to facilitate the Nets’ needs, with some options including the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.
Lakers not interested in trading Reaves or Christie
Another way for the Lakers to tempt the Nets or a third team to make a deal would be to include one or either of their young, talented players in Austin Reaves and Max Christie. L.A. reportedly does not have interest in that though, so their draft picks will have to be enough.
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