Without hyperbole, Kyrie Irving could be the most difficult trade candidate in NBA history. It is not just a question of risk and reward. We’re talking about one of the most unpredictable players the NBA has ever seen. He has promised to stay with every team he ever left. He promised not to finish last season either … how sure would the acquiring team keep his word? Trading in Irving would require a full organizational purchase. You should do this with the understanding that he will miss games due to injury and that he will miss games for reasons other than injury. He starts talking weird things. It makes your coach’s life difficult.
And he will make the biggest hits of your season. This is what makes it so difficult to find a reasonable deal. Irving is a rare player who can actually be good enough to justify this type of malfunction, and the Nets know it. Trading with him would make them worse in the square. It could even take them out of the championship. Given its risk, there is simply no way that any of its acquiring teams will return the fair value to Nets in the transaction. Upon entry, this would be a potential loser-loss situation for both parties.
In that sense, the Nets should probably keep Irving. It has a $ 36 million player option and a fairly limited leverage to force it to trade. The only teams with enough headroom to really chase him in a free agency are so far from the championship picture that he never wants to play for them. The Indiana Pacers will not sign Kyrie Irving this season. He is likely to remain on the Net for this reason. He cannot forcibly reach his preferred destination and they cannot exchange it for his preferred package because its value has fallen so low that such a package is unlikely to exist.
However, as The Athletic Shams Charania reports that both parties are at a standstill in the contract negotiations, it is worth investigating who could actually make the deal for Irving. The transaction is likely to meet all or most of the following conditions in order to be feasible, taking into account the risks it would entail for all parties:
- The destination should be acceptable to Irving. He just isn’t worth the headache if he doesn’t want to be anywhere.
- The returned package must keep Nets competitive at least remotely. This is not a rebuild and the Nets must ensure that they do not alienate Kevin Durant.
- The Nets will not actually be able to accept any of the free agents of 2022, as this would almost certainly exceed the limit. In this regard, we assume that Irving will be involved with his new team, rather than entering into agreements to avoid this complication in recruiting teams.
With these parameters in mind, here are the five teams that make the most sense to Irving.
Nets Russell is not interested in Westbrook. Let’s put this aside now. Durant has (inadvertently) hinted on social media that he didn’t want to continue playing with Westbrook after leaving Oklahoma City. Even if they were interested in reuniting, Westbrook has no point next to Ben Simmons. So we immediately bury the idea of switching to Westbrook and Irving. When the Lakers get Kyrie, there are two other ways.
A more likely path would be a three-team deal whereby a third party agrees to Westbrook’s expiring contract and any small value the Lakers can accumulate (their unprotected first-round options in 2027 and 2029, Austin Reaves, possibly Talen Horton-Tucker) and sends own property in Brooklyn. There are many common Westbrook themes here. Maybe Indiana Nets could send Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield. Maybe Charlotte would give up some combination of Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre and PJ Washington? Damn, maybe there’s a big deal here with John Wall and the Rockets. If the Lakers agree to give up multiple choices, they could squeeze out players like Eric Gordon (supposedly the first player in the block) and Jae’Sean Tate out of the Rockets. Of these deals, Charlotte is probably the most logical. Hayward is the closest thing Brooklyn can make to a deal like this, and the Hornets have enough depth to potentially send Nets. Of course, this design is close to the bottom of the offerings the Nets are likely to receive.
The Lakers could jump to the top of the leaderboard by bidding on Anthony Davis. Just don’t expect them to do that. Both Irving and Davis are prone to injury, but Davis has more control over the team, is a more reliable and simply better player off the field. Maybe the Nets could make money here with role players like Seth Curry and Joe Harris, but they have no way of replacing the defenses the Lakers would lose in Davis without giving up on Ben Simmons. Would they do that? Probably not. You may be having fun with a multi-team design, but right now, Lakers’ hope of Irving landing depends on his interest in going to Los Angeles. They just don’t offer the best package.
The Clippers, like the Nets, could immediately come to an agreement with their second letter offer. Paul George-for-Kyrie Irving is an interesting design for both sides, as George would meet Brooklyn’s need for greater perimeter protection and allow Simmons to play a full-time scorer, while Irving would be the best scorer on an almost endless team. Clippers have spent years on these wings for some reason. They have a very clear list-making philosophy, and replacing George with Irving just doesn’t fit. They would like Kyrie … but not at the price of George.
But if the Nets are open to a “four-quarter-dollar” trade facility, the Clippers could make a fairly substantial offer. Some combinations of Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, and Norman Powell could give Nets a number of versatile wings to pair with Durant and Simmons. Terance Mann and Brandon Boston are both doing quite well and Nets has no young talent after handing over most of his assets to James Harden. The Clippers may even throw in their unprotected first round of 2028 to get a long-term increase in the extra dose. If Durant leaves the pack without a clear letter, the Clippers could completely strengthen the rest of Brooklyn’s list. At the same time, they would have the best trio in the NBA and a lot of depth to support it. Adding Irving and giving up Paul or Kawhi Leonard would make Clippers the current championship.
Check the box to confirm your order.
Thanks for registering!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
An error occurred while processing your order.
The Knicks have some influence here. They might think they could pay enough of their middle-class salaries to the top teams to hire Irving directly as a free agent. If they can convince Netsi that they have a way to do so, they can persuade Brooklyn to work together for a more enjoyable deal. They have to do it because their own assets are simply not attractive. Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker and Nerlens Noel will not receive Irving unless they are involved in a number of draft options. Maybe the Nets could turn those choices elsewhere, but that deal doesn’t seem to be doing much for Brooklyn.
Would Brooklyn consider Julius Randle a star or something? He would have been better off before switching to Harden with Simmons, but even with last season’s decline, he offers more as a shooter than most big men. He added the inner strength that this team has lacked since dealing with Jarrett Allen. The Nets should be high enough for Randle to make such a deal sensible, but insane things have happened. Remember, it wasn’t until the season back that Randle made it to the second team in the NBA when no Net could do so. Talent is here.
When Irving asked Cavaliers to leave in 2018, he did audibly his wish list included four teams: the Knicks, the Spurs, the Timberwolves, and the Heat. We’ve been dealing with Knicks. Spurs is out of competition. As fun as the D’Angelo Russell-Nets meeting would be, Brooklyn would probably not be thrilled with such a downgrade. What about Miami? There’s something here.
Pat Riley took a subtle shot on Tyler Herro’s defense when he emphasized the importance of two-way players at his end-of-season press conference. Irving isn’t great at defending, but he’s a Herro addition who is sometimes unplayable. He also fits in with Miami’s star-hunting profile, and after attacking Boston in their half-court, he could offer the score needed to return to the finals. His interest in playing with Jimmy Butler has been around for a long time.
Herro would be the main young man returning to Brooklyn, and despite his poor play-offs, for some reason he won as the sixth man of the year and could one day become one of the better scorers in the NBA. Kyle Lowry would likely join him as a substitute defender for Brooklyn. The Heat also opened up a little more flexibility in the draft during the deal, changing the protections of the choice owed to Oklahoma City. This may allow them to give up the first or two choices to sweeten the pot here. In terms of realistic value, it’s hard to imagine the Nets going beyond the Miami package.
This is where we are completely in the realm of speculation. With Lakers, Clippers and Knicks, proper reports from Charania have been added. Irving has been interested in Heat in the past, has a known relationship with Butler, and that fits in with their typical list-making philosophy. Phoenix doesn’t have any of these things. What they have is a 37-year-old lawyer who is striving to end his career.
Chris Paul was an MVP candidate in the regular season. The first eight games of his offseason were high: 22.6 points, 9.9 assists, 58 percent of hits. And then everything fell apart against Dallas. Maybe it was an injury. Maybe it was a COVID outbreak reported by the team. Maybe he just got old. But Suns saw his future against Mavericks. Irving may be their only chance to replace Paul with a junior star defender and potentially keep that core in the competition for the foreseeable future, even if DeAndre Ayton leaves.
The Nets would exchange one set of risks for another. Paul is a perfect professional, but his age is never guaranteed. He would fit in perfectly with Durant, who can play with just about anyone, and Simmons, who needs quite a few balls to suit Paul considering his shot. If Durant wants a star back for Irving, he’ll probably have to accept that it will be as risky a star as Paul’s back.
This is unlikely to be appropriate. Paul is so important to Phoenix culture that he almost certainly can’t get to the table. But, as we said, this is a territory of speculation. There is logic to both sides in such a deal, even if neither is particularly enthusiastic about concluding it.
#Kyrie #Irvings #rumors #Lakers #Knicks #among #Net #potentials #fivegoal #goalkeeper