There’s now a decent chance that the Brooklyn Nets will have to pull off a Kyrie Irving trade this summer.
Following the Nets’ ugly first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, there’s a ton of drama brewing in Brooklyn. That includes general manager Sean Marks calling Irving out after all of the COVID-related drama during the 2021-22 campaign.
Following reports suggested Irving was likely to re-sign after opting out this summer, more recent suggestions indicate that the two sides could be headed for a divorce.
Irving, 30, has a $36.5 million player option for next season. He could simply opt out of said deal and become a free agent. However, opting in to help facilitate a trade would expand the numbers of teams capable of acquiring him.
Below, we look at four ideal Kyrie Irving trade scenarios should he be put on the block during the summer.
Related: Updated NBA trade rumors
Kyrie Irving trade to the Dallas Mavericks
- Mavericks get: Kyrie Irving
- Nets get: Jalen Brunson (sign-and-trade), Reggie Bullock, 2 1st-round picks
Dallas is coming off a surprise appearance in the Western Conference Finals with point guard Jalen Brunson stepping up behind Luka Doncic. While it’s being reported that the Mavs would love to retain Brunson in free agency, we wouldn’t put it past owner Mark Cuban from pulling off that eye-opening trade.
From an on-court perspective, teaming Irving up with Doncic would give Dallas one of the best tandems in the entire NBA. The two would complement one another a great deal with what they do on offense.
As for the Nets, they add a still-young 25-year-old Brunson who stepped into a No. 2 role behind Doncic this past regular season. He averaged 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 50% shooting. Even if Ben Simmons does return, Brunson would be a great addition to go with Durant.
Reggie Bullock also provides Brooklyn with a bench option in the frontcourt while the Nets acquire multiple first-round picks to go with the two they got from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Harden-Simmons blockbuster.
Kyrie Irving trade to the Los Angeles Clippers
- Clippers get: Kyrie Irving
- Nets get: Norman Powell, Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, multiple 2nd-round picks
Los Angeles’ decision to deal expiring contracts for Norman Powell at the NBA trade deadline gives the team more flexibility to find another star to go with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Following an injury-plagued 2021-22 season, that very well could be what general manager Lawrence Frank opts to do.
Having a point guard of Irving’s ilk would make Los Angeles a legit NBA title contender, forming the next “super team.” The Clippers have struggled at point guard since Chris Paul exited following the 2016-17 season. This is a major need. Teaming Irving up with his former Cavaliers head coach, Tyronn Lue, would also be ideal.
From Brooklyn’s perspective, the team adds a three-and-D wing who has averaged 18.7 points on 41% shooting from distance since the start of the 2020-21 season. It also brings in a grizzled veteran in Marcus Morris and a still-young 25-year-old guard in Mann who has displayed flashes in his three-year career.
Kyrie Irving trade to the New Orleans Pelicans
- Pelicans get: Kyrie Irving
- Nets get: Jonas Valanciunas, Devonte’ Graham, Larry Nance Jr., 8th pick, future 1st-round pick
New Orleans’ playoff run this past season surprised the masses given Zion Williamson’s injury and how they started the campaign. Brandon Ingram and the recently-acquired C.J. McCollum looked like a dynamic duo. Assuming Williamson returns healthy, the Pelicans would have a great trio. Why not use the assets that general manager David Griffin has built up to acquire another star such as Irving?
- Kyrie Irving stats (2021-22): 27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG, 47% shooting, 42% 3-point
A core group of Ingram, McCollum, Williamson and Irving would certainly have championship aspirations in New Orleans.
The cost would be high. However, it would create a more well-rounded roster in Brooklyn. In particular, Valanciunas would be a great fit with Durant and Simmons. The underrated veteran center averaged 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists on 54% shooting a season ago. Nance Jr. provides solid defensive ability in the frontcourt and Graham is a decent starting point guard in today’s NBA. The eighth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft would also be a great asset for Brooklyn.
Kyrie Irving reunited with LeBron James
- Lakers get: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris
- Nets get: Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2 1st-round picks
Irving has in the past talked about how he and LeBron James have mended fences. Whether that’s true remains to be seen. What we do know is that the Lakers have to blow this up behind King James and Anthony Davis if they are going to compete for a title after a 49-loss season. They are also among the betting favorites to land Irving should he be traded.
One might think that Los Angeles doesn’t have the assets to pull off a trade of this ilk. If it waits until after Thursday’s draft, the team could actually offer up two future first-round picks to make this work.
In return, the Nets see if the Westbrook-Durant relationship has also been mended after the latter left Oklahoma City for Golden State years ago. Could a core three of Durant, Westbrook and Durant be seen as contenders? We’re not sure. But acquiring two future first-round picks and moving off Harris’ bloated deal might be the best Brooklyn can hope for.