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Kyrie Irving rumors: Lakers, Knicks among five potential destinations for Nets’ All-Star point guard

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Kyrie Irving, without exaggeration, may indeed be the toughest trade candidate in NBA history. It’s not just a matter of risk versus reward. We’re talking about one of the most unpredictable players the NBA has ever seen. He promised to stay on every team he ever left. He promised not to retire last season either…how confident will the buying team be that he will keep his word? Trading for Irving will require full organizational support. You must do this with the understanding that he will miss games due to injury and for reasons unrelated to injury. He will say strange things. He will make life difficult for your coach.

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And he’s going to make the biggest shots of your season. This is why finding a reasonable deal is so difficult. Irving is the rare player who can actually be good enough to justify such dysfunction, and the Nets know it. Trading him will make them worse on the court. It might even put them out of contention for the championship. Given the risk he poses, it’s simply not possible for any team that acquires him to return fair value to the Nets in a deal. Entering, this can become a potentially lose-lose situation for both parties.

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In that sense, the Nets should probably just keep Irving. He has a $36 million player option and fairly limited leverage to get him to trade. The only teams with enough cap space to actually pursue him as free agents are so far from the championship picture that he would never want to play for them at all. The Indiana Pacers will not sign Kyrie Irving this offseason. This is probably the reason why he will stay with the Nets. It can’t make it to its preferred destination, and they can’t exchange it for their preferred package because its value has dropped so low that such a package probably doesn’t exist.

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Nose Shams Charania from Athletic reporting that both sides are deadlocked in contract negotiations, it’s worth figuring out who can actually cut the deal for Irving. A deal is likely to need to meet all or most of the following conditions to be feasible given the risks it will pose to all parties involved:

  • The destination had to be acceptable to Irving. He’s just not worth the headache if he doesn’t want to be somewhere.
  • The return package must at least keep the Nets remotely competitive. It’s not a restorative trade and the Nets need to make sure they don’t push Kevin Durant away.
  • The Nets can’t realistically accept any 2022 free agents back in exchange for a signing and trade because that would set a hard cap that they would almost certainly exceed. In this vein, we will assume that Irving agrees and expands with his new team rather than developing his own signing and trading system to avoid these team acquisition complexities.

With these parameters in mind, here are five teams that Irving is most suited to.

1. Los Angeles Lakers

The Nets are not interested in Russell Westbrook. Let’s get this out of the way now. Durant (inadvertently) hinted via social media that he did not want to continue playing with Westbrook after leaving Oklahoma City. Even if they were interested in a reunion, Westbrook doesn’t make sense next to Ben Simmons. So we will bury the idea of ​​a direct Westbrook-Irving trade right now. If the Lakers get Kyrie, it will happen in one of two ways.

A more likely option would be a three-team deal in which some third party accepts Westbrook’s expiring contract, along with whatever meager value the Lakers can muster (their unprotected first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, Austin Reeves, could be Talen Horton-Tucker) and sends his assets to Brooklyn. Many of Westbrook’s common items apply here. Perhaps Indiana could send Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Heald to the Nets. Maybe Charlotte will turn down the combination of Gordon Hayward, Terry Rosier, Kelly Aubre and PJ Washington? Hell, maybe there’s something more involved with John Wall and the Rockets. If the Lakers are willing to give up a few picks, they may be able to wring role players like Eric Gordon (reportedly on the block for the first round) and Jay Sean Tate out of the Rockets. Among these deals, Charlotte is perhaps the most logical. Hayward is the closest thing to a star that Brooklyn could muster in this kind of deal, and the Hornets are well positioned to send him to the Nets. Of course, among the proposals that the Nets are most likely to receive, this construction is at the very bottom.

The Lakers could immediately take first place on the list by offering Anthony Davis. Just don’t expect them to do it. Both Irving and Davis are injury prone, but Davis has more control over the team, is more reliable off the court and just plays better. It’s possible the Nets could sweeten the pot with role players like Seth Curry and Joe Harris, but they don’t have the ability to replace the defense the Lakers will lose in Davis without giving up Ben Simmons. Would they do it? Probably no. You could potentially enjoy a multi-team build, but for now, any hope the Lakers have of actually signing Irving hinges on his interest in moving to Los Angeles. They just aren’t going to offer the best package.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers, like the Nets, could make a deal right now by offering their second star. Paul George-for-Kyrie Irving is an interesting construct for both sides, as George will fill Brooklyn’s need for increased perimeter defense and allow Simmons to play point guard all the time, while Irving immediately becomes the best point guard on the team with a near-infinite supply of wings. . The Clippers spent years accumulating these wings for a reason. They have a very clear roster building philosophy and swapping George for Irving just doesn’t fit into that. They would love to have Kairi…but not at the expense of George.

But if the Nets are ready for a four-quarters-a-dollar trade, the Clippers could make a pretty compelling offer. Some combination of Robert Covington, Marcus Morris and Norman Powell could give the Nets plenty of versatile flanks to play against Durant and Simmons. Terence Mann and Brandon Boston are both developing quite well, and young talent is what the Nets are missing after they gave away most of their assets to James Harden. The Clippers may even drop their 2028 first round unprotected player for an extra dose of long-term growth. If Durant signs a package without a clear star, the Clippers could fully bolster the rest of Brooklyn’s roster. Meanwhile, they’ll be left with the best trio in the NBA and enough depth of their own to back them up. Adding Irving and dropping Paul or Kawhi Leonard would make the Clippers an instant favorite for the championship.

3. New York Knicks

The Knicks have the advantage here. They could probably pass on enough of their mid-level salaries to space teams to sign Irving as a free agent right away. If they can convince the Nets that they have a way to do this, they may be able to convince Brooklyn to cooperate on a more acceptable deal. They need it because their own assets are not very attractive. Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker and Nerlens Noel won’t get Irving unless they’re tied to a mountain of draft picks. It’s possible the Nets could trade those picks elsewhere, but on the face of it, this deal doesn’t do much for Brooklyn.

Does Brooklyn consider Julius Randle a star or something like it? He would have been a better fit prior to trading Harden for Simmons, but even with his regression last season, he offers more of a shooter than most big men. He would add the inner strength that this team lacked after the deal with Jarrett Allen. For such a deal to make sense, the Nets would have to be highly rated by Randle, but crazier things have happened. Remember, just a season ago, Randle made the All-NBA Second Team when no Seth ever did. The talent is here.

4. Miami Heat

When Irving asked the Cavaliers for a trade in 2018, he reportedly There were four teams on his wish list: the Knicks, the Spurs, the Timberwolves, and the Heat. We talked about the Knicks. The Spurs are unbeatable. As fun as a D’Angelo Russell-Nets reunion would be, Brooklyn probably wouldn’t be thrilled by such a downgrade. But Miami? There is something here.

Pat Riley fired a subtle shot at Tyler Herro’s defense when he stressed the importance of two-way players in his post-season press conference. Irving isn’t very good defensively, but he’s better than Herro, who is unplayable at times. He also fits Miami’s star-hunting profile, and after their half-court offense faltered against Boston, he could provide the scoring boost they need to get back into the Finals. There is there have been rumors for a long time about his interest in playing with Jimmy Butler.

Herro will be the first young player to return to Brooklyn, and despite his poor playoff record, he won the sixth man of the year for a reason and could one day become one of the NBA’s top scoring defensemen. Kyle Lowry is likely to join him as a replacement for Brooklyn’s point guard. The Heat also opened up a little more draft flexibility at the trade deadline by changing the pick defense they owe Oklahoma City. This may allow them to give up one or two first round picks to sweeten the pot. In terms of real value, it’s hard to imagine the Nets surpassing the Miami.

5. Phoenix Suns

Here we go completely into the realm of speculation. The Lakers, Clippers and Knicks have solid reports from Charania. Irving has been interested in the Heat in the past, has a known relationship with Butler, and fits in with their typical line-up…


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