Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE through Getty Photos
If Kyrie Irving leaves the Brooklyn Nets, he’ll virtually definitely be suiting up in Purple and Gold throughout the subsequent part of his profession.
“All indications” are that the Los Angeles Lakers are Irving’s “prime vacation spot” if he leaves the Nets, in accordance with The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, whether or not that is in a commerce this 12 months or subsequent 12 months in free company.
Irving opted in to his $36.5 million participant choice for the 2022-23 marketing campaign and can change into an unrestricted free agent on the finish of the season. Buha added that since there’s at the moment a scarcity of curiosity in buying and selling for him across the league that “it looks as if the Lakers are his almost certainly free-agent choice subsequent summer time, aside from the Nets.”
In early July, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports activities reported the Nets and Lakers had been “actively engaged” in preliminary commerce discussions centered round Irving and Russell Westbrook and that there was “palpable optimism” a deal might be reached this offseason.
Nevertheless, Haynes additionally famous that the Nets “are usually not anticipated to be rushed right into a deal and can proceed conversing the complicated specifics with the Lakers on an Irving-Westbrook swap.”
Since then, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported late final month on NBA Immediately (h/t Jared Greenspan of the New York Publish) that there was “no traction” on an Irving-Westbrook swap and that talks had stalled out.
Irving has been linked to the Lakers for a lot of the summer time since ESPN’s Steve A. Smith reported in June that the veteran level guard needed to staff up with LeBron James once more in L.A. “as quickly as he presumably can.”
The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Alex Schiffer and Joe Vardon additionally reported that Irving was centered on becoming a member of the Lakers even earlier than he opted in to his 2022-23 contract with the Nets. Nevertheless, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst added that Irving would want to first wait till Kevin Durant, who requested a commerce, was moved.
Nonetheless, it is no shock the Lakers are fascinated with including Irving as he could be an improve over Westbrook, who had an abysmal first season with the Purple and Gold, averaging 18.5 factors, 7.4 rebounds and seven.1 assists whereas capturing 44.4 p.c from the ground and 29.8 p.c from deep.
Irving, who wasn’t allowed to play in residence video games for a lot of the 2021-22 season as a consequence of New York Metropolis’s vaccination mandate for indoor arenas, nonetheless averaged 27.4 factors, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists whereas capturing 46.9 p.c from the ground and 41.8 p.c from deep final season.
Placing the seven-time All-Star alongside James, his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, and Anthony Davis would give the Lakers a greater likelihood at contending for an NBA title in a tricky Western Convention that noticed them miss the playoffs final season.