Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving is being granted his wish, receiving permission from the front office to explore sign-and-trade packages to join another team this summer.
Reports surfaced early this offseason that the All-Star point guard wasn’t happy in Brooklyn. Amid issues in his relationship with the organization, Irving wasn’t pleased by Brooklyn’s lack of interest in a max contract extension.
Not feeling valued by the Nets’ front office, Irving made it clear that he is now open-minded to the possibility of playing elsewhere. Days shy of the deadline to exercise his $36.5 million player option, the situation is escalating.
According to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, the Nets granted Irving permission to speak with other teams about packages for a sign-and-trade. While this doesn’t guarantee a move, many around the league believe the All-Star point guard will soon be dealt.
The expectation is the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks will be among the NBA teams interested in Irving. However, any pursuit of him is complicated because his contract and demands for a long-term extension are a massive financial pill for a team to swallow.
It’s evident that an Irving trade is inevitable. What’s unclear is the future of Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. The future Hall of Famer hasn’t spoken to the front office in weeks and there are new details about him losing confidence in management.
For the time being, Irving is the focus. While he is one of the best players in the NBA, his availability isn’t a guarantee.
Besides his extended absence as an unvaccinated player in 2021, Irving also previously took time away during the Nets’ regular-season schedule and was spotted at a birthday celebration amid his hiatus.
Los Angeles Lakers only team interested in Kyrie Irving trade
While the process of finding a trade partner and constructing a package that works for both sides can take extensive time, that isn’t as much of a problem for Kyrie Irving. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are the only team interested.
It means the New York Knicks and Miami Heat won’t pursue the veteran guard as of now. While it would seemingly create an easy path for the Lakers to acquire Irving, there’s another problem. Brooklyn reportedly doesn’t have any interest in the offers being made by Los Angeles.
There is a way for Irving to get around this. If he declines his player option on Wednesday, he can sign with the Lakers and the Nets won’t receive any compensation. However, that would also cause further tension with Russell Westbrook and Irving would take a massive paycut.