Lakers still trying to trade for Kyrie Irving in Russell Westbrook-centric deal, report says

Kevin Durant has reportedly asked for a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, and once gone, Kyrie Irving, who just opted for his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season, could soon follow.

On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski told ESPN’s free agency special that it’s “very likely that not only Durant but Kyrie played their last games with the Nets.” Earlier in the program he said: “I think you can expect if Kevin Durant leaves, [the Nets will] work really hard to move Kyrie Irving too.”

NBA insider Brian Windhorst added, “If Kevin Durant is on the first train, Kyrie Irving will be in the caboose when it comes to the Nets.”

Every team in the league is going to call about Durant. Irving doesn’t have nearly the same kind of value. One team that has already shown interest in Irving, however, is the Lakers, and Windhorst has reported that the Lakers will indeed try to lure Irving from the Nets in a trade that is expected to include Russell Westbrook.

“Trying” is the key term here. The Nets don’t want anything to do with Westbrook. What they might consider is taking Westbrook in a deal that also provides them with several future first-round picks, which the Lakers have been unwilling to include until now.

The Lakers are trying to hold on to their lifetime draft capital after LeBron James, which could happen sooner rather than later. He will be 38 in December. He will be a free agent next summer.

Of course, LeBron’s teams don’t normally see the long term. They sell everything they have to fight at the highest level as long as they have possibly the greatest player of all time. The Lakers basically flipped their entire future for Anthony Davis to make LeBron a star winger, and it earned them a championship.

LeBron is still capable of being the best player on a title team. It’s a risky business to jeopardize what could be the last title shot he has left for a few future draft picks. Irving would make the Lakers a decidedly better team than they are right now. A legitimate title contender, assuming health, which might be a reckless assumption, but nonetheless.

Again, if Durant leaves, the Nets will want to send Irving right behind him. The Lakers will try to use this to their advantage, but the Nets know the Lakers are pretty eager not to lose this upcoming season from LeBron as well. We will see if any of them flash.

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