The Los Angeles Lakers and the league at large remain at a standstill in the free agency division, with all eyes on Brooklyn.
But just because nothing has really happened yet with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving doesn’t mean there aren’t any new developments surrounding the trade talks surrounding the two superstars.
Regarding the latter figure of the Nets’ disgruntled duo, here are the latest headlines and rumors surrounding the Lakers’ quest to bring Kyrie to Los Angeles:
Kyrie Irving seems destined to be a Laker
Although negotiations between the Lakers and the Nets have seemingly stalled due to the potential need for a third team like the Spurs to be involved, all rumors still point to Kyrie eventually joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the Lakers.
And while it hasn’t actually happened yet, it seems like a trade almost closed over the weekend of July 4th – if reports from SNY’s Ian Begley are to be believed.
Here’s what he said when he joined Bleacher Reports Jake Fischer on a Callin episode of “Please Don’t Aggregate This” (emphasis mine):
“I know that some people at the Lakers you felt This past weekend there was some pretty good momentum at Russell Westbrook and Kyrie to get something to the finish line, close to the finish line. And obviously it’s falling apart and maybe that has to do with what the networks ultimately expect from this transaction. But it just shows you how many different pieces have to fit together to actually achieve something here.”
Doubts can usually arise when a week goes by after teams fail to finalize a deal, but the Lakers still appear to be in the driver’s seat to take on Kyrie Irving as, by all appearances, they’re still the only interested party .
Here’s what the newly minted, possibly know-it-all Brian Windhorst had to say yesterday ESPN’s “Get Up” on the latest reports of the 76ers or Mavericks potentially joining the Lakers in worshipers for a Kyrie trade (h/t to our friends at nets daily for transcription):
“We’ve heard more from teams that aren’t interested in Kyrie in the last week than teams that are interested,” he said. “There were some reports that maybe Philadelphia, maybe Dallas, and those teams pushed back on that very quickly. ‘No no no no. We don’t want him.’”
“So if you’re the Lakers, I’m like, ‘Who are we bidding against? Why should we include these things? Who are we bidding against? Why shouldn’t we protect those pickaxes? Do you have another offer to get us to change our stance?’ And that is the position that the Lakers are taking.”
All the rumors emerging now seem to indicate that the delay stems from the details of a deal, not the principals. Maybe the Nets would prefer a third team against Westbrook, or they’re just not ready to move Kyrie until they get their Kevin Durant issue sorted out (more on that in a moment).
Anyway, this much seems certain: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James and the Lakers want this to happen.
In the same episode of “Get Up,” Windhorst stated the following (h/t RealGM for transcription):
“Kyrie Irving Absolutely wants to be a Los Angeles Laker,” said Brian Windhorst. “We know this. The Lakers want Kyrie Irving.”
Adding some credibility to this idea is the fact that Kyrie sure is spending a lot of time in Los Angeles right now. He performed at the BET Awards a week ago, LA times Reporter Brad Turner revealed on Marc Stein’s Spotify Live session that he recently played pick-up games with other NBA players around town, and he made a public appearance at an LA Sparks game last night (pictured below).
It may be just another case of an NBA player spending their offseason in the sunny City of Angels…or…he could just bid his time there until the trade is official and he can take a quick trip to the Lakers premises for its introductory press conference. Personally, with absolutely no bias, I will decide think it’s the latter.
LeBron James hates draft picks
Even before the Lakers were offered an opportunity to trade for Kyrie Irving, it was reported that the team was reluctant to cough up a draft indemnity to get rid of Russell Westbrook. It remains a topic of conversation, but to no one’s surprise, there’s one guy at the Lakers who doesn’t mind parting with more first-round picks: LeBron James.
Here’s what Brian Windhorst had to say about the King’s lack of interest in protecting the Lakers’ future assets on “Get Up” (starring Jonathan Sherman and Lakers Daily):
“I can’t express how little LeBron cares about picking the Lakers for the first round of 2029,” he said, eliciting a hearty laugh from his fellow pundits. “He never cared about first-round draft picks. He doesn’t care about first-round draft picks if they’re on his team. He wants to win tonight and Kyrie Irving is giving him a chance tonight.”
Like I said, this isn’t exactly breaking news. LeBron James won’t be in the NBA, let alone the Lakers, in 2029 (unless he really is a cyborg). Why should he be concerned with the future cost of the championship fight in the present? He will continue to live by the mantra of Les Snead, general manager of the Los Angeles Rams when it comes to evaluating first-round draft picks.
The Kevin Durant trade will likely come before the Kyrie Irving trade
Speaking to Jake Fischer today, Ian Begley remarked the following in regards to the timing of a theoretical trade between Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving:
“I think, and Jake, I don’t know where you stand, but… there’s no world where Kyrie Irving is dealt before Kevin Durant…”
This seems to be a popular idea among reporters covering this situation, with LA Times’ Brad Turner stating exactly the same thing on one of Marc Stein’s Spotify Live episodes (emphasis mine):
“I think sometime before we get to camp, Kyrie is playing for the Lakers. How it works, how they do it (I don’t know). The Lakers just have to be patient. Because from what I’ve read and been told, the Nets aren’t going to do anything about Kyrie until they deal with Kevin Durant. And once that happens, they’re more willing to engage with the Lakers or any other team that wants to get him.”
This, coupled with the fact that a third team may be interfering, suggests it could be a while before either deal is finalized.
So put your “Kyrie Irving is a Laker!” Parties on hold for now as this deal, if finalized, may not materialize until we get a little deeper into the summer.
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