Kyrie Irving Notes: Possible Suitors, Tsai, Nets’ Reaction

following Kyrie Irving‘s trade request on Friday, initial reporting identified the Lakers, Mavericks, and Suns as the point guard’s top potential suitors. Could there be other teams willing to enter the fray and make a play for the nets star?

Don’t count on the Clippers being one of Irving’s suitors, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his latest Lowe Post podcast. Although the Clippers have been linked to some points guards who are considered trade candidates, Lowe and his guest Bobby Marks expressed skepticism that LA would have legitimate interest in acquiring Kyrie.

“Everything I’ve heard for a year is leading me to say I would be very, very surprised if the Clippers actually dip their toe into this Kyrie Irving situation,” Lowe said. “Maybe that’ll change if Kawhi (Leonard) goes to them and says, ‘Do this or else’ or whatever. I just don’t get the sense that they have the appetite for it.”

There has been some speculation that the Heat could get involved, but Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter links) says Miami won’t be aggressive in its pursuit of Irving. The Heat will monitor the situation and could be a landing spot if Brooklyn gets desperate, Jackson says, but other suitors will likely be more motivated. Jackson adds that Irving “doesn’t exactly fit the qualities” the Heat value in their players, including “reliability, selflessness, (and) putting (the) team first.”

Sam Amick of The Athletic offers up the Jazz as an outside-the-box suitor for Irving, observing that CEO Danny Ainge wouldn’t have the same reservations about Kyrie that some other executives would, even though his time in Boston didn’t necessarily go as planned.

Amick is just speculating though — there’s no indication the Jazz have actually expressed interest in Irving. I’d be surprised if they do, given that the chemistry in the locker room has been a major asset in Utah this season, and Irving may not have any desire to re-sign with the Jazz when his contract expires in the summer.

Here’s more on the Irving situation:

  • League sources with knowledge of the Mavericks‘thinking downplayed Dallas’ chances of landing Irving, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. In the same story, Scotto says the Nets are fans of Mikal Bridges. However, it’s highly unlikely the suns would be willing to give him up in a deal for Irving.
  • Nets owner Joe Tsai was firmly against the idea of ​​offering Irving a maximum-salary extension last summer and that stance hasn’t changed, according to Ian Begley of (Twitter video links). Begley doesn’t specify whether Tsai is only opposed to the idea of ​​a long-term maximum extension for Kyrie or if he’d also be opposed to guaranteeing him the max for one or two years. Either way, the difference in opinions on Irving’s value going forward was clearly the driving factor in his decision to request a trade.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated on his Hoop Collective Podcasts that he believes the Nets were surprised by Irving’s trade request, as RealGM relays. A source close to people in the organization who spoke to Steve Bulpett of conveyed a similar sentiment. “People are walking around like, ‘What the f–k just happened?’ It’s crazy,” the source said. “Crazy. But we’ve seen it before there, so nobody should be that surprised. Crazy.” One player source who spoke to Bulpett speculated that Irving’s trade request was a gambit designed to get him the sort of extension he wants.
  • After “a few months in the sun,” the Nets find themselves in a familiar place, clouded by chaos, Alex Schiffer writes for The Athletic. Elsewhere at The Athletic, John Hollinger explores what an Irving trade might look like for nine different teams, including extreme long shots like the pelicans and Bulls.
  • Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post argues that the Nets should give Irving the trade he wants and “end the charade” of trying to mollify him in Brooklyn.

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