Nets want Lakers first round in Kyrie Irving trade, prefer to handle Kevin Durant first, per report

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The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are currently engaged in some of the most unorthodox, blockbuster trade negotiations in NBA history. Both sides have a well-known point guard that nobody else seems to want. The Lakers are trying to trade Russell Westbrook, who owes $47 million and is coming off his worst pro season. The Nets want to postpone Kyrie Irving, who narrowly missed most of the 2021-22 season by refusing to comply with New York City’s vaccination mandate. There is no other clearly visible trading partner for either side, which has made negotiations considerably more difficult.

According to Marc Stein, the Nets want a first-round draft compensation from the Lakers to complete the trade but, perhaps more importantly, are focused on resolving the Kevin Durant situation before turning their attention to Irving judge. Durant is also seeking a trade, but with his deal still running for four years, the Nets have an opportunity to take their time. As much as they would like to move away from Irving, before moving Durant would make it all but impossible for them to contend for a title if they end up retaining the 2014 MVP.

The Lakers have two tradeable first-round picks: one in 2027 and one in 2029. The Lakers have resisted including them in trade negotiations, but a player of Irving’s caliber could be an exception. Speaking of hesitation, the Nets would prefer not to take Westbrook back in a potential deal because of his exorbitant cap count. The $11 million pay gap between the two point guards would cost Brooklyn over $50 million, factoring in luxury taxes, before considering the financial impact of a possible Durant trade. The San Antonio Spurs, with over $30 million in cap rank, were mentioned as a possible third team to take on Westbrook so the Nets wouldn’t have to.

The Lakers have reportedly considered deals with the Indiana Pacers (for Buddy Hield) and Houston Rockets (for Eric Gordon) to add shooting, but both players have much lower cap numbers than Westbrook. Indiana could close that gap by bringing in center Myles Turner, whom the Lakers have long coveted, but Stein says they likely won’t have the resources to land both gymnasts and hero Multiple reports suggest that LeBron James is keen for Irving to join him in Los Angeles.

But until the Durant situation is resolved, the Nets have no rush. If a Durant trade comes along, the Lakers should be able to make an Irving trade simply because the Nets would no longer have a reason to keep it. For now, however, the ball is in Brooklyn’s court.