Kyrie Irving could still be traded to 1 team?
Kyrie Irving appeared to commit to the Brooklyn Nets for at least one more season when he opted into the final year of his contract on Monday, but the rumors of him being traded this summer have not evaporated entirely.
On the newest episode of his podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said there are “high-ranking people” in the NBA who still believe Irving could be traded. More specifically, those people do not think the possibility of Irving going to the Los Angeles Lakers is dead.
“I know that there are people in the league, and we’re not talking about ancillary people, we’re talking about high-ranking people, who believe that this is not done,” Windhorst said, via Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report. “I don’t know. Let me just say this about the Lakers. He obviously was very interested in joining the Lakers. The Lakers were very interested in having him.”
Irving may have been interested in the Lakers, but he was not interested enough to leave $30 million on the table. He could have declined his $37 million option and signed with the Lakers for the $6 million midlevel exception. Windhorst even said at one point that Irving might go that route, but no one expected him to.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there were three potential options for Irving to pursue opt-in-and-trade scenarios before he committed to the Nets. The Lakers were said to prefer signing Irving as a free agent rather than trading for him.
Charania reports that teams are still expected to pursue Irving via trade. However, they would now run the risk of Irving becoming a one-year rental and leaving in free agency next summer.
The Nets had a surprising stance on possibly losing both Irving and Kevin Durant. Perhaps Irving, with all his off-court drama, realized he would benefit from a season in which he focuses on basketball. If he can do that, he may have more appealing options as a free agent a year from now.