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Articles tagged: Kyrie Irving

NBA insider not ruling out 1 blockbuster Kyrie Irving trade

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving put a lot of rumors to rest when he exercised his player option with the Brooklyn Nets this week, but there has still been some chatter about him getting traded this summer. One NBA reporter is not ruling out a blockbuster deal involving Irving and another All-Star point guard.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on “Get Up” Wednesday that the relationship between Irving and the Nets still needs to improve. If it does not, the NBA insider could envision a scenario where Brooklyn flips Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers for Russell Westbrook and draft picks.

Irving’s player option with the Nets is worth $37 million. Westbrook also exercised his player option with the Lakers this week, which guarantees him around $47 million next season. It is no secret that L.A. would like to get out from under that deal, and we have only heard of one team that might have genuine interest.

The Lakers were said to have real mutual interest with Irving before he exercised his option. Some even speculated that Kyrie would take way less money to play for them, but that never seemed realistic. A trade may not be, either, but it is noteworthy that Windhorst keeps talking about it.

Kyrie Irving reportedly ready to leave Nets for 1 team

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There is no reason to believe Kyrie Irving has any plans to stick around in Brooklyn after the Nets trade Kevin Durant, and seems to be eyeing one possible destination.

In an appearance on “SportsCenter” Thursday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Irving is already focused on leaving the Nets hours after Durant’s trade demand was made public. Windhorst added that Irving is once again focused on trying to move to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Kyrie Irving is out of town as fast as he possibly can. He is focused on forcing himself to the LA Lakers,” Windhorst said. “Talking with executives over the last couple hours, the value of Kyrie Irving in a trade has absolutely plummeted. They know that he’s going to be a pure rental if he doesn’t want to go to the situation he’s been going to. It’s unclear what he’ll do.”

Irving’s options are limited, and the timing of Durant’s trade demand did not do the guard many favors. He had already opted into his contract for 2022-23 after fueling speculation about his future. That leaves him with few options. Between his history of flaking on teams and his contract status, few organizations will want to give up much for him.

Even after Irving had opted in, there was talk about a potential trade still being on the table. There is no doubt he will want out, but he has little leverage now.

How a Kyrie Irving to Lakers trade might look

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant wants the Brooklyn Nets to trade him, and Kyrie Irving isn’t far behind.

Irving opted in to the final year of his contract with the Nets. He likely chose to do that because he realized no team wanted him on his current $36.5 million salary. There is only one trade destination that really makes sense for him: the Lakers.

But what would a potential Irving to the Lakers trade look like? Let’s take a look.

Irving’s large salary makes him undesirable for many teams. But the Lakers have an equally undesirable contract with Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million.

The Lakers and Nets could consider a swap of those players, but more players would have to be involved to have the salaries match.

Nets guard Joe Harris is owed $18.6 million next season. If he were included in a deal, the Lakers would have to throw back someone like Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.2 million) or Kendrick Nunn ($5.2 million). The Lakers might also have to kick in a 2027 first-round pick in the deal.

Seth Curry is owed $8.5 million next season. His salary plus Irving’s would come close to matching Westbrook’s, so he could also be part of a deal.

Here are a few looks at possible trades:

The Lakers might be motivated to make such a deal because they probably recognize they’re not going anywhere with Westbrook anyway, so taking a chance on Irving is worth the gamble. For Brooklyn, they were only putting up with Irving because he was the price to pay to get Durant. As long as Durant isn’t around, they have no interest in keeping Irving.

There really is only one realistic landing spot for Irving. That’s why the Nets don’t have any leverage in trade talks; nobody else wants him for $36 million.

Nets considering drastic move to get rid of Kyrie Irving?

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets may be willing to do anything and everything that it takes to send Kyrie Irving off to Pluto.

Yahoo! Sports’ Vince Goodwill wrote this week to not be surprised if the Nets use the waive-and-stretch provision to get rid of the rabble-rousing guard Irving. Under this provision, Brooklyn would still have to pay Irving’s entire salary but could release him immediately in exchange for “stretching” out the money over twice the number of years left on his deal plus one year.

The seven-time All-Star Irving just opted into the final year of his contract at $36.5 million. That means the Nets would pay out roughly $12 million over the next three seasons via the stretch provision, and Irving would be free to sign with any team. Essentially, they would be paying him in full to go away.

Ideally, the Nets probably want to trade Irving so they can get something in return for him. But the market for Irving appears very dry right now except for one potential trade partner that may saddle the Nets with more salary (when they already have Ben Simmons’ big contract to worry about too).

There is also the alternative possibility that Irving could agree to a buyout with the Nets instead. But that would require the two sides to work together and for Irving to agree to a salary reduction. The relationship between the two sides seems to have deteriorated way too much for that, and Irving is NBPA vice president, creating problematic optics if he were to voluntarily give back some of his salary.

We have seen the stretch provision used before on other outcasted former NBA stars. That method would also give Brooklyn a bit of cap relief and may be on the table if the Nets are really desperate to ditch Irving (so much so that they can stomach paying out his deal over an additional two years).

Kyrie Irving shares cryptic tweet after Kevin Durant trade request

Kyrie Irving in warmups

Jan 15, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) stands for the anthem before a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving reportedly has no desire to stick around with the Brooklyn Nets after Kevin Durant requested a trade from the team on Thursday. Irving may have confirmed that motive in a cryptic tweet.

On Friday, Irving tweeted out a telling GIF of what he could do if and when Durant is moved.

In the GIF, a bird flies out and away from a cage after the cage’s door swings open. A few of the cage’s bars appear to be broken, with two in particular forming what looks like a broken heart.

Irving’s tweet may corroborate reports that he wants out of Brooklyn now. Perhaps the broken heart is in reference to Durant’s unexpected decision, but it’s hard to say what Irving’s message here was for sure. The 30-year-old reportedly is particularly interested in making his way to one team.

While Durant’s requested trade likely added to Irving’s desire to leave, the relationship between Irving and the Nets had been deteriorating for some time before then.

The Nets were hesitant to sign Irving to a long-term deal this offseason due to the off-the-court drama surrounding him for the last two years. Irving on Monday somewhat surprisingly decided to opt in to the final year of his $36.5 million contract with the Nets. What was once a promising championship trajectory for the Nets, with two of the NBA’s best players, now seems to be coming to a swift end.