According to Chris Haynes, negotiations between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers to swap Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving are progressing. There is “palpable confidence” that the two parties can come to an agreement this summer, albeit other factors would need to be included.
Since his star colleague Kevin Durant asked the Nets for a trade, Irving is expected to be dealt despite having recently chosen to enter the final year of his contract worth $36.4 million. According to Brian Windhorst’s earlier this week story, “If Kevin Durant is on the first train leaving, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose for the Nets.”
The market for the mercurial guard is understandably not as strong as the one for Durant after Irving’s recent season in which he played just 29 games due to his refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and given his prior injury history (Irving hasn’t played 70 games in a season since 2017 when he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers).
But the Los Angeles Lakers have very little to lose. They have the best potential to bolster their talent this summer with Irving, who has dated LeBron James in the past. The Lakers are attempting to get one more championship out of the LeBron and Anthony Davis combination before both players become free agents after this season. Although Irving has his share of drawbacks, on the court he would be a far better match than Westbrook and significantly improve the Lakers’ chances of winning the championship.
The Lakers have been attempting to trade Westbrook since the middle of last season, just months after they first acquired him, but it is obvious that saying that than actually doing it. A trade would be challenging logistically because he recently elected to enter the $47 million last year of his deal. Additionally, despite being way past his peak, he still has to have the ball in his hands the most of the time in order to be useful at all.
Also Read: Kevin Durant asks Brookyn Nets for a trade
Basketball situations rarely make logic, but the Nets are in a difficult position as a result of the Durant trade request and may be willing to sign Westbrook to an expiring contract if they can move Irving and persuade the Lakers to make some sacrifices. Given how many draught picks they owe the Houston Rockets in the upcoming seasons as a result of the James Harden trade, the Nets will be especially anxious to acquire some.
According to Haynes, one of the main obstacles to concluding a trade right now is draught compensation. The Anthony Davis trade cost the Lakers a number of future draught picks, and they had previously been reluctant to trade Westbrook for future first-round picks. However, if they can secure Irving, that might be priceless.
Additionally, it appears that the clubs can’t agree on who else should play. Most notably, the Lakers are attempting to acquire Seth Curry while the Lakers want to move Joe Harris, who has two years and $38.6 million left on his contract and is recovering from ankle surgery.
Although it doesn’t seem like a deal is close, if the two sides are this far along in their negotiations, it might not be long before Irving is back with LeBron and sporting the purple and gold.