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Prominent NBA figures believe Kyrie Irving trade to Los Angeles Lakers is still possible

Matt Johnson

Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving surprised some in the NBA by opting into his contract, going against rumors that he would opt-out to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. While Irving is seemingly committed to the Nets right now, some think that will change.

Irving’s decision to take the $36.5 million salary in the upcoming season over a $6 million mid-level exception if he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers isn’t shocking to normal people. Despite the ALl-Star guard’s issues with the Nets’ front office, taking a massive pay cut always seemed unlikely.

Related: Kyrie Irving picks up 2022-’23 player option

After news of his contract option being exercised broke, the indication was he would play for Brooklyn next season. While that might be the case for now, it seems many prominent figures in the NBA aren’t buying it.

On the latest Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective, Brian Windhorst of ESPN shared that some prominent NBA executives believe Irving could still wind up in Los Angeles. He also said the interest between Irving and the Lakers was legitimate.

“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. 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.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on Kyrie Irving and the Los Angeles Lakers

Acquiring Irving now would be significantly more costly for Los Angeles. If he really wants to reunite with LeBron James and form of “Big Three” with Anthony Davis, signing the MLE as a free agent was the easiest path. Now owed more than $30 million, there is only one way for a pairing to still happen.

  • Kyrie Irving stats (2021-’22): 27.4 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.4 RPG

Related: LeBron James open to Kyrie Irving playing for Los Angeles Lakers

The Nets would need to be willing to trade Irving for Russell Westbrook, taking on an additional $11 million in salary and receiving a far worse player. At the very least, Los Angeles would certainly need to attach future first-round picks.

Of course, Irving is a volatile player with a history of disappearing on his team and new issues could develop at any moment. Barring all of that happening, the likeliest outcome is the future Hall of Famer suiting up for the Nets and staying with Kevin Durant next season.