It looks like Kyrie Irving’s time with the Brooklyn Nets may be coming to an end after the organization granted him permission to seek a sign-and-trade with other teams.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that if the Nets granted him permission to seek a trade, Irving would have the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers on his list of teams that he would approve a trade to.
ESPN Sources: If Kyrie Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with Brooklyn, he has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers. None of those teams have cap space to sign him without Nets’ help.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
While Irving may have interest in being acquired by one of those teams, it appears that for the moment only one of those teams is interested in trading for Irving.
Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Lakers are the only team that is currently known to be pursuing a sign-and-trade for Irving.
ESPN Sources: Outside of the Lakers, there are currently no known teams planning pursuit of sign-and-trades for Nets G Kyrie Irving. No sign-and-trades can be formally discussed until after 6 PM on Thursday. Brooklyn isn't believed to have interest in available Lakers packages.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 27, 2022
Things may pick up later this week, as sign-and-trades will be allowed to be formally discussed when the NBA offseason officially begins on Thursday night.
However, Irving hasn’t exactly spoken highly about James following his departure from the Cavaliers in 2017. He seemingly threw some shade toward James in 2020 favor of praising teammate Kevin Durant, calling out James’ clutch shot-making ability compared to Durant’s. And that led to James discussing how those comments disappointed him, saying “I only wanted to see him be the MVP of our league. I only cared about his success. …We were still able to win a championship and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being both on and off the floor and it kind of hurt me a little bit.”
That 2020 dust-up seems to behind Irving and James now. The Lakers would likely not be rumored to pursue Irving if James hadn’t signed off on the idea.
There may be one potential roadblock for the Lakers to acquire Kyrie Irving, and that is Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook.
The Brooklyn Nets have already said that they are not interested in Westbrook, who would likely be involved in any sign-and-trade for Irving.
If Irving truly wants to go to the Lakers, he may have to decline his upcoming player option with the Nets and sign with the Lakers in free agency on the mid-level exception of $6 million.
There is still plenty of time for another team to enter the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes, but at the moment it looks like the Lakers are the favorites.