The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly stepping up their pursuit of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving after agreeing on a contract extension with LeBron James.
It’s been a quiet few weeks on the Irving saga front since the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League ended. However, rumors intensified amid James signing a two-year max extension with the Lakers. The Purple and Gold are now reportedly willing to include two first-round picks in a deal that would bring Irving to L.A.
However, NBA insider Marc Stein reports that the Nets are still not interested in taking on Russell Westbrook and his $47.1 million salary — even if they get two first-rounders in exchange as they want win-now talent:
The Nets’ current stance, sources say, is that they are unwilling to send out Irving in a trade if the deal solely brings back future assets. They apparently want win-now talent in return to part with Irving, despite all of the turmoil that has engulfed the Nets for months.
Perhaps that position changes if the Nets manufacture a trade they like that finds a new home for the disgruntled Kevin Durant, but they have not yet wavered. The Nets have consistently rebuffed the idea of taking on Westbrook and insist they won’t be swayed by mere draft compensation … attractive as it is.
It would thus require a third team, barring a change in Brooklyn’s approach, to facilitate an Irving-to-the-Lakers move.
Earlier this summer, reports claimed the Nets would consider an offer of a first-round pick and extra second-round draft compensation for Irving. But since then, it’s become clear a third team might have to get involved in the deal due to Brooklyn’s lack of interest in Westbrook.
The San Antonio Spurs have reportedly been interested in facilitating the Irving trade in exchange for an unprotected first-round pick. The Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers — and, perhaps, the New York Knicks, if they acquire Donovan Mitchell — could also engage in negotiations between the Lakers and the Nets.
James remains ‘adamant’ on Lakers trading for Irving
James is believed to have been at the forefront of the Lakers’ effort to acquire Irving. The matter reportedly played a part in the four-time NBA champion’s decision whether or not to sign his contract extension.
James is said to have been “privately adamant” that L.A. improve the roster and trade for Irving.
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