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How can the Lakers and Nets be negotiating a Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook trade after player options were picked up?

One has been called unpredictable and the other obsolete, but no matter how you cut it a trade involving the two point guards will likely turn heads,

Kyrie Irving y Russell Westbrook
Mark D. SmithUSA TODAY Sports

Though both sars recently opted to pick up their player options with a mind to staying with their respective teams, it now seems that they may actually be on the move sooner rather than later.

Are the Lakers close to a Russell Westbrook for Kyrie Irving trade?

According to reports, there is “palpable optimism” about the possibility of a deal between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers that would see Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook trade places. While there are of course various details to be hammered out, it now appears that a trade may well be completed this summer.

Irving recently opted into the final year of his deal worth $36.4 million, but that was before his friend and teammate Kevin Durant rocked the NBA by requesting a trade. In the wake of Durant’s big move, it’s now understood that the Nets would rather cut their losses and part company with Irving who has been seen as ‘unreliable’ at varying times over the last few seasons. “If Kevin Durant is on the first train out, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned,” Brian Windhorst said earlier this week. Irving is of course fresh off of a season in which he played only 29 games, having missed the majority of the season after refusing to take the covid-19 vaccine. It should be said that Irving hasn’t hit the 70 game mark since the 2017 season.

What’s in it for the Los Angeles Lakers

Where the Lakers are concerned, one can see the logic in the move. This most recent season was a disaster such that they are in real need of a revamp and unpredictability aside, Irving is a definite talent. Add to that the fact that he and LeBron James have a previous relationship from their time playing with the Cavs and you’ve perhaps got the making of something special. With both hitting free agency next season the timing of the move couldn’t be better as the Lakers try to get one last title out of an aging roster.

As for Westbrook himself, it’s worth noting that the Lakers have been trying to offload the point guard since the middle of last season. Strange considering that it was just months after they acquired him for a large sum of money and draft picks. Westbrook recently opted into the final ear of his contract, which is worth $47 million and understandably complicates things. Considered by some to be past his prime, the point guard still demands a lot of the ball which has proven problematic at times for some, including LeBron James.

What do the Brooklyn Nets get out of this?

To be frank, the Nets are between a rock and a hard place after Durant’s trade request, as such it just may be that they can see value in taking on Westbrook’s expiring contract while simultaneously trying to squeeze something extra out of the Lakers, In exchange for Irving who will surely command a higher market value than Westbrook. It goes without saying that the Nets will be looking to claim some draft picks considering the quantity that they owe to the Houston Rockets as a result of the James Harden trade.

Indeed, it’s understood that said draft picks are the major point of contention between the two sides as they attempt to agree on the terms of the trade. Incidentally, the Lakers also have their own Draft issues following their move for Anthony Davis such that they will likely be very hesitant to give up any future first round picks to offload Westbrook. At any rate, if they can in fact bring Irving to LA it may just be worth it. One factor that should be noted, however, is that neither team agrees on what other players should be included in any deal. Specifically, there is Joe Harris who has two years and $38.6 million remaining on his contract and is returning from ankle surgery, while on the other side of the divide the Lakers are would like to take Seth Curry. Can they figure out a deal that satisfies either side? Watch this space!


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