Chris Haynes from Yahoo! Sports reports Sunday that the Nets and Lakers are “actively involved in talks” that could send Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris to the Lakers for Russell Westbrook and call for compensation.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are actively involved in discussions over a trade package that would send star point guard Russell Westbrook to Brooklyn in exchange for star point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
There is palpable optimism that an agreement can be reached between the two sides this offseason, but some hurdles remain, sources said.
But while LA-based Haynes wrote that there was “palpable optimism,” he also cites sources with the Nets who say the talks were “only preliminary.” The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer said on ESPN radio that he was told the report was incorrect.
Schiffer also tweeted that trying to lead a crime through two non-shooting guards like Westbrook and Ben Simmons would never work.
The guy on the right is why a deal doesn’t make sense for the guy on the left. An offensive genius like Mike D’Antoni couldn’t plan an offensive around two nonshooting point guards like these two. https://t.co/c8Zt7lyURy
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) July 3, 2022
The report is also at odds with various other reports that the networks will not move on Irving trade scenarios until a trade for Kevin Durant is settled.
This is the second time in two days that a deal involving Irving and Westbrook has been discussed online.
On Friday morning, Legion Hoops reported that there were discussions between the two teams…
SOURCE: The Lakers are aggressively working on a deal for Kyrie Irving — their current bid is Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker and their 2027 first-round pick. Joe Harris could be headed to Los Angeles as part of the deal. pic.twitter.com/oRAjIPMj3f
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 1, 2022
Haynes said the sticking points are the scope of the compensation scheme and whether Harris, who is expected to earn $38 million over the next two years, would be included.
The Lakers were averse to including Harris and are instead seeking the insertion of sniper Seth Curry as part of the deal, sources said.
Curry has an expiring $8.5 million deal.
Curry and Harris are third and fourth respectively in all-time 3-point shooting percentage.
Westbrook will earn $47.1 million this season in the final year of his five-year, $205 million contract signed with the Thunder in 2017. That’s more than $10 million more than Irving, who opted for his $36.9 million player option this week.
According to other reports, the Nets are willing to bring Irving to LA — his preferred landing spot — so long as it doesn’t help Brooklyn’s financial commitments next season. A deal that included Harris would cut Nets’ payroll by about $8 million.
Of course, including Harris, a fan favorite and the player with the most time in black and white, could point out that the Nets are in the midst of a deep transformation, cutting pay — and luxury taxes — while building their stash of draft picks. A counterpoint to that scenario, however, is that the Nets added $9.2 million to their payroll on Thursday when they traded a first-round pick to Utah for Royce O’Neale with their big trade exception.
Haynes said nothing is imminent.
The Nets are not expected to rush into a deal and will continue to discuss the complex details with the Lakers over an Irving-Westbrook swap.
John Hollinger also addressed the Lakers as an end goal and outlined a different scenario.
[O]One outcome seems massively more likely than the rest (to the Lakers for Russell Westbrook and picks, perhaps with Joe Harris and Kendrick Nunn thrown on an even paycheck)… the Nets will have the coming return from an Irving deal behind them Sense when strategically planning Durant trades.
Meanwhile, Shams Charania, speaking to Bally Sports, said Irving has “several suitors”, naming the Lakers, Mavericks and even the 76ers.
“I’d be keeping an eye on Kyrie Irving over the next few weeks and probably a guy who could possibly make a move,” Shams said. “There are several teams trying to get Kyrie Irving (as Durant) as well.”