Lakers weighing options after Kyrie Irving demands trade
All-star point guard Kyrie Irving is looking to leave Brooklyn, and like last summer, the Lakers are among the favorites if the Nets decide to honor his trade request.
According to people with knowledge of the situation, the Lakers are interested in Irving, LeBron James’ former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate.
In addition to the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat are possible trading partners for the Nets, according to several people. Irving, who earns $36.5 million, was unable to secure a contract extension with the Nets and will be a free agent by the end of the season.
Rumors circulated that Irving’s desire was to play with the Lakers in the final offseason before finalizing his contract with Brooklyn. The Lakers had their concerns, including committing a significant salary and multi-year contract to a player who wasn’t always reliable.
Irving’s time with the Nets was one of controversy and roster changes. Irving missed most of last season when he wasn’t allowed to play in Brooklyn because he refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He was suspended this season and missed eight games after posting a link to a film with anti-Semitic messages.
He later expressed his regrets before returning to court.
“I just want to sincerely apologize for all my actions in the time that has passed since the post was first published,” he said. “I had a lot of time to think. But if I could do it all over again, I would first focus on healing and restoring many of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.”
The Nets dealt with the trade for James Harden — and then sent him to Philadelphia — and navigated Kevin Durant’s trade request that summer.
On the court, Irving was one of the best players in his position, averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He was selected as the starter for the East in the upcoming All-Star Game.
They are currently fourth in the East with a 31-20 record.
Magic Johnson supported the idea of trading for Irving on Friday.
“Personally, I would love to see Kyrie in purple and gold,” he wrote on Twitter.
When will LeBron James become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer?
A look at LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time record.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s points: 38,387
LeBron James Points: 38,325
Points from record: 63 points
Expected games to record: 3
Estimated recording date: February 9 against Bucks
A trade with the Nets would certainly include Russell Westbrook. The Lakers would have to take an additional player back in a trade for Irving for salaries to match under NBA trade rules.
The team’s primary asset is first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. Second-year guard Austin Reaves has fans in every front office in the NBA, as does rookie guard Max Christie.
The Lakers have had Westbrook trade talks with teams approaching Thursday’s deadline, including the Utah Jazz. There is skepticism that the Detroit Pistons will trade Bojan Bogdanovic, although Toronto’s Gary Trent Jr. could be a floorspacer the Lakers could pursue.
The team could also be interested in Atlanta guard Bogdan Bogdanovic as they look to add shooting.
All of this is happening at the same time that James is close to breaking the all-time record in the NBA. He is 63 points away from dethroning Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
On Friday, after the team landed in New Orleans, James tweeted the looking eye emoji and a crown.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2023-02-03/lakers-weigh-options-after-kyrie-irving-demands-trade-from-nets Lakers weighing options after Kyrie Irving demands trade