Following another drama-filled season between Kyrie Irving and his Brooklyn Nets, speculation is ramping up that general manager Sean Marks might look to trade the enigmatic point guard. The idea would be to find a more natural fit with James Harden and Kevin Durant. If that is indeed the case, let’s look at four ideal Kyrie Irving trade scenarios.
Kyrie Irving trade to the Chicago Bulls
- Bulls get: Kyrie Irving
- Nets get: Zach LaVine, Coby White
This hypothetical Kyrie Irving trade scenario is interesting in that LaVine’s contract situation with the Bulls is up in the air. There’s no telling whether he’ll be in the Windy City long-term, leading to trade rumors on a near never-ending loop. The assumption is that the high-scoring LaVine would sign an extension with Brooklyn, which would make this a coup for general manager Sean Marks and Co. Given his three-point prowess and ability to get to the rim, LaVine would be a tremendous fit next to James Harden and Kevin Durant for the Nets.
As for Chicago, the team just exhausted a ton of draft capital to acquire All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic. At least initially, the pairing with LaVine did not work. The team posted a 12-18 record after the blockbuster trade and missed out on the playoffs. The idea would be to team Vucevic up with Irving and find a nice inside-out game between the two All-Stars. Under this premise, Chicago also finds a way to retain pending restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen.
Kyrie Irving trade to the Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers get: Kyrie Irving
- Nets get: Ben Simmons, Shake Milton, two first-round picks
To say that things are not going swimmingly for the 76ers with Simmons as their “second option” behind Joel Embiid would be an understatement. The reigning NBA MVP finalist threw his teammate under the bus in a big way following a terrible performance in Philadelphia’s conference semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks. It’s led to speculation that Simmons will be moved this summer. Although, there’s certainly questions about his trade value. Acquiring Irving would be an absolute win. He’s much better of a fit with Embiid.
With that said, Simmons’ defensive ability would work well for a Nets team that struggled in that regard a season ago (114.1 points per game against). He could play a more natural power forward spot and off-ball position next to Kevin Durant in the frontcourt with James Harden being ball-dominant. Brooklyn also gets a young sharpshooter and two first-round picks it could potentially flip with Joe Harris for another starter-caliber option.
Kyrie Irving trade to the San Antonio Spurs
- Spurs get: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris
- Nets get: DeMar DeRozan (sign-and-trade), Dejounte Murray, first-round pick
As the oldest head coach in the NBA at 72, it can’t sit well with Gregg Popovich that the Spurs have missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons. He’s not going to want to continue with a rebuild at this stage in his career. Given that the Spurs could have upwards of $53 million to spend in free agency, we’re expecting them to be active in an attempt to build a playoff-caliber team. Acquiring Irving would be a perfect start with San Antonio then using its other resources to add a second star to the mix.
In terms of the Nets, this hypothetical Kyrie Irving trade makes too much sense. A pending free agent, DeRozan continues to play at a high level. He’s a shot creator who averaged 21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists on 50% shooting last season. Bringing in Murray would also help in that Harden could move to a more off-ball role when the point guard is in the game. Of all the trades mentioned here, this might be the best fit for both teams.
Kyrie Irving trade to the Los Angeles Lakers
- Lakers get: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris
- Nets get: Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, first-round pick
Imagine this. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James reuniting once again with the two former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates in much different spots in their careers. In reality, King James could be just the person to help Irving on and off the court. As for a fit, the Lakers are coming off an ugly first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs. They need to change things up. Bringing Irving aboard to go with the sharpshooting Harris could very well work. It changes the landscape, both offensively and defensively.
A prime Anthony Davis working with Harden and Durant would give the Nets an absolutely elite big three. In turn, it seems to be a better fit than teaming two ball-dominant guards in Irving and Harden up together, especially with Durant liking to have the ball in his hands. If Davis were to return to 2019-20 form, these Nets would be Eastern Conference favorites — potentially setting up an NBA Finals matchup between these two teams. How fun would that be?