Were Kyrie Irving’s recently expressed fears that he might be traded realistic?
In days when Kevin Durant and James Harden were carrying the Nets and Irving was banished for not getting vaccinated, SNY’s Ian Begley reports the Lakers had “internal discussions” about trading for the Irving.
Those discussions occurred when the unvaccinated Irving was not playing home games due to the COVID vaccine mandate and not playing road games because of Brooklyn’s choice to not play him.
Begley notes it’s unclear if the Lakers reached any internal consensus on Irving at the time.
Irving would have rejoined LeBron James, whom he won the NBA title with in 2016 with the Cavaliers over the 73-9 Warriors — it was the city’s first championship in 52 years.
But Begley also notes that “it’s unclear if the Lakers reached any internal consensus on Irving at the time,” meaning it’s unlikely L.A. even called Brooklyn.
Irving just last week said that while he sat at home in West Orange, N.J. he worried about being traded or even released!
“I was wondering at home what my future was going to look like, you know?,” he said on The ETCs podcast. “Whether I was going to be traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get the opportunity to be on another team, how I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way.”
While there were reports at the time that the Nets would be open to a trade, Adrian Wojnarowski called the trade market for Irving “dicey.”
“You just don’t know what you’d be trading for. You don’t know whether he wants to play — does he want to play for you? Does he want to play at all?” Woj said.
And how would it have worked? Was there even a reasonable prospect for a trade if the Lakers got beyond their “internal discussions?”
Indeed, Sam Quinn of CBS Sports wonders if personal histories across the board would’ve doomed any discussions. Putting aside re-uniting Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, who have had their own issues since winning the NBA championship in 2016, there would also have been an issue on the Nets side: re-uniting the 2012 Thunder “Big Three” of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook who presumably have been the return for Irving.
The Lakers had a point guard problem of their own in Russell Westbrook. The Lakers reportedly considered trading him throughout the season, but it’s unlikely that the Nets would have been interested in reuniting him with Kevin Durant and James Harden considering their experiences playing with him. Beyond those three, the Lakers lacked the salary to match Irving’s in a deal, even if they did have assets that would have appealed to the Nets.
Bottom line for Quinn is “there was just no feasible way of making it happen.”
More importantly, it didn’t.
- Sources: Some in Lakers organization discussed potential Kyrie Irving trade with Nets - Ryan Morik - SNY
- Lakers considered pursuing Kyrie Irving-LeBron James reunion - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Lakers considered pursuing Kyrie Irving trade when he was away from Nets, per report - Sam Quinn - CBS Sports