- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Right now, the NBA free agency period is seemingly at a standstill, presumably because everyone is waiting on the Brooklyn Nets to make the next move.
Kevin Durant reportedly wants out, and Kyrie Irving does as well. The Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers have been reportedly engaging in serious trade talks regarding Irving, but nothing has happened on that front, at least not yet.
After the Russell Westbrook experience this past season resulted in what most people would consider failure, the Lakers have an opportunity. They can not only acquire Irving, who is a borderline superstar and can address many of their issues, but they can also undo the Westbrook trade, which many people believe was a giant mistake.
Opportunities such as this one come to those who are good or lucky, but they aren’t always absolute. They often require minor concessions to be made.
Reportedly, the hold up in a possible Irving trade may be that the Nets want L.A. to take back sharpshooting wing Joe Harris to make salaries match under league rules. L.A. would rather not, citing the fact that he has two years remaining on his contract at over $18 million per season.
The Lakers and Nets are engaged in active trade discussions around a Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving swap.
Brooklyn wants to include Joe Harris in the deal, but the Lakers want Seth Curry instead.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 3, 2022
If the Nets will not budge on this requirement, the Lakers need to at least meet them halfway and get a deal done.
The Lakers have little, if any leverage
Some believe the Nets are desperate because both of their main stars want out and they won’t want either one on the roster when training camp starts in order to prevent bad vibes from spreading throughout the team.
However, the Lakers are at least as desperate themselves.
If the Lakers ask for too much in an Irving trade, and the Nets say no, would keeping Irving for the time being be the worst decision in the world for the Nets?
The hot rumor is Durant could be headed to the Phoenix Suns, or possibly the Toronto Raptors, in a multi-team trade that would land three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell in Brooklyn.
That would give Brooklyn a roster that could, at worst, reach the play-in tournament, even if Irving were to pout and refuse to play until he is moved.
In that case, conventional wisdom suggests the offers for Irving would get worse over time, and the Nets would have to eventually cave and accept something for him, lest he leaves in free agency next summer for nothing.
But the other side suggests some other team could court Irving through back channels, put together an offer the Nets like and get Irving to sign a long-term extension after a trade goes down.
That’s the gamble the Lakers would be making if they aren’t willing to make some reasonable compromises this summer.
Other than Irving, L.A. really has few, if any options, when it comes to trading Westbrook for some value.
There is always the chance the Charlotte Hornets bite, but now that Miles Bridges, who had been on the bring of signing to a new contract, is facing felony domestic violence charges, they may be less willing to part with players such as Terry Rozier or Gordon Hayward.
It could very well be Irving or bust for the Lakers at this point, and if the Lakers don’t play their hand well, they could be left empty-handed in a year when LeBron James will be a free agent.