Kyrie Irving Trade Rumors: Lakers, Nets Actively Discussing Russell Westbrook Deal, According to Report

The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are making progress on a trade that would swap Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook, according to Chris Haynes. Other parts would need to be involved but there is “palpable optimism” the two sides can reach an agreement this summer.

Irving recently opted for the final year of his $36.4 million deal but is expected to trade after star teammate Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Nets. “If Kevin Durant is on the first turn, Kyrie Irving will be on guard for the Nets,” said Brian Windhorst reported earlier this week.

After a season in which he only played 29 games because he refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and given his previous injury history — Irving hasn’t played 70 games in since 2017 when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers a season — the Mercurial Guard market is understandably not as robust as Durant’s.

However, the Lakers have very little to lose. Irving represents her best shot at adding talent this summer and he has a past relationship with LeBron James. Both players will face Free Agency next season as the Lakers look to snag another title from the LeBron-Anthony Davis pairing. Irving has his fair share of negatives, but on the court he would fit in much better than Westbrook and greatly increase the Lakers’ title chances.

Of course, trading with Westbrook is a lot easier said than done; The Lakers have been trying to do this since the middle of last season, just months after originally acquiring him. He recently opted for the final year of his contract, which is valued at $47 million, making a deal logistically difficult. Add to that the fact that he’s well past his prime but still needs the ball in his hands most of the time to be even effective.

There really aren’t any basketball situations that make sense, but the Nets are in a bad spot after Durant’s trade request and could be willing to take Westbrook as an expiring contract if they can move Irving and squeeze some concessions out of the Lakers. In particular, the Nets will be eager to acquire some draft picks given how many they owe the Houston Rockets over the coming years via the James Harden trade.

According to Haynes, draft compensation is one of the biggest sticking points when making a trade right now. The Lakers have also put out a number of future draft picks via the Anthony-Davis deal and have previously been unwilling to put forward first-round picks to move Westbrook. If they can get Irving, it might be worth the price. In addition, the teams seem to disagree on which other players should be involved. Most notably, the Nets want to move Joe Harris, who has two years and $38.6 million left on contract and is undergoing ankle surgery, while the Lakers are pushing to get Seth Curry instead.

It doesn’t appear that a deal is imminent at this point, but if the two sides are that far along in talks, it may not be long before Irving is reunited with LeBron and wearing purple and gold.