It’s deja vu for the Nets. A year after James Harden requested a trade before the deadline and months after Kevin Durant wanted out in the offseason, Kyrie Irving is the third superstar to request a trade from Brooklyn.
While teams wait to see how the news will affect Durant’s desire to remain in Brooklyn, Irving has garnered reported trade interest from the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, and Heat.
Quietly, the Knicks and Jazz have also discussed a swap of forwards and guards with potential draft pick compensation.
Below is a look at the latest intel HoopsHype has gathered on both situations.
How Kyrie Irving’s trade request happened
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After the Lakers traded for Rui Hachimurait signaled to the rest of the league Los Angeles would bypass prioritizing cap space for the summer to chase star free agents like Irving. Two days later, Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, went on the record with Bleacher Report expressing a desire to get an extension done with the Nets. Nine days later, after failing to get the desired terms, Irving requested a trade from Brooklyn.
This sequence of events was no coincidence to some around the league. After flirting with the possibility of a sign-and-trade to Los Angeles during the offseason that ultimately never happened, the Lakers were considered either a potential free-agent destination for Irving or a means of negotiating leverage against the Nets this summer.
Acquiring Hachimura essentially removed that free agency possibility since the Lakers cut into their future projected cap space. Once that happened, Irving could get max money or close to it one of two ways: an extension with Brooklyn or trade to the Lakers or another team who’d acquire his Bird Rights with the expectation of a new long-term contract.
When the Nets failed to offer Irving a fully guaranteed max contract extension due to concerns over his on-court availability over the years, he requested the trade. Brooklyn is also skeptical Irving can find a full max contract elsewhere.
Therefore, they must decide if they want to play hardball again with Irving and force him to play the second half of the season as a Net in an attempt to win a championship with Durant or rid themselves of a player who’s been mired in controversy and been a distraction every season during his Nets tenure.
The Lakers’ chances of trading for Irving
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Los Angeles had an opportunity to dangle their two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 for Irving over the summer before he and Kevin Durant returned to the Nets. Now, the Lakers will have that opportunity again.
From the Lakers’ perspective, the chances of giving up both unprotected picks are unlikely, as The Athletic’s Jovan Buha noted. Los Angeles will look to protect at least one of the picks.
Russell Westbrook’s contract would need to be included in any realistic trade scenario between the teams and would likely need a third team, such as San Antonio, to ultimately acquire – and likely agree to a buyout – with Westbrook. San Antonio or any other third team taking on Westbrook would also look for draft pick compensation. Brooklyn never saw Westbrook as a logical fit with Ben Simmons during trade talks in the summer, and that thinking wouldn’t change now.
There’s also been speculation Nets guard Joe Harris could be included in any trade involving Irving and Westbrook. If Harris is included, he’d reunite with Lakers assistant coach Jordan Oct who was instrumental in helping him develop from a fringe NBA player to a sharpshooter in Brooklyn. Harris, a valued core member of Brooklyn’s culture dating back to the Kenny Atkinson was, is owed $19.93 million next season.
LeBron James was Irving’s biggest public advocate this season during his suspension and has desired a reunion with his former Cavaliers teammate with the hopes of forming a championship-contending trio with Anthony Davis.
This Lakers trade package would give the Nets future assets and potential luxury tax savings if Harris is also included, but it won’t help Durant win now.
The Mavericks’ chances of trading for Irving
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Thus far, Dallas has resisted the urge to move a future first-round pick unless a player can elevate them to a championship contender. On the court, Irving is talented enough to dramatically increase Dallas’ chances of competing alongside MVP candidate Luka Doncic and be the clear No. 2 star they’ve been searching for after losing Jalen Brunson to the Knicks in free agency.
However, Spencer Dinwiddie, Theo Pinsonand Mavericks front office members Matt Riccardi and Andrew Baker spent time with Irving in Brooklyn and know the baggage he brought during their tenures with the Nets.
While Dallas has been connected to Irving once again in trade talks, league sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking downplayed the team’s chances of landing Irving in a trade.
The Suns’ chances of trading for Irving
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With new ownership coming to Phoenix, there have been rumblings about the team finding a potential long-term successor at point guard to future Hall of Famer Chris Paulwith Fred VanVleet, D’Angelo Russelland now Irving mentioned as possible trade targets.
It’s worth noting that Mikal Bridgeswho came up in trade talks for Durant over the summer, remains a player Brooklyn likes from afar, league sources told HoopsHype.
Phoenix’s interest and ability to pursue a deal are currently uncertain amid the ownership transition.
The Heat’s chances to trade for Irving
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The Nets would be interested in Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butleror Tyler Herro coming to Brooklyn in a potential Irving trade. Miami would prefer to move off Kyle Lowrywho’s owed $29.7 million next season.
While Pat Riley has never shied away from a talented but controversial player in the past, it’s hard to logistically see how Miami can acquire Irving.
Knicks and Jazz trade talks
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The Knicks and Jazz have had exploratory conversations surrounding Obi Toppin, Evan Fournierand draft pick compensation for Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbiltleague sources told HoopsHype.
As reported in a recent HoopsHype NBA notebook, Utah is seeking the equivalent of a first-round pick to acquire each player. In these particular trade talks, Toppin would potentially be that equivalent for Vanderbilt with Utah seeking a potential first-round pick for taking on Fournier’s salary ($18.86 million next season and $19 million team option for 2024-25) and parting with Beasley, who has a $16.5 million team options for next season. Thus far, New York has been reluctant to attach a first-round pick to move off Fournier’s salary.
Beasley, who’s also drawn trade interest from the Cavaliers and Pelicans, told HoopsHype in an exclusive interview earlier this season that he’d like to remain in Utah and have the Jazz pick up his team option for next season.
Toppin previously came up in trade conversations over the summer during the Donovan Mitchell trade negotiations between New York and Utah. Jazz executive Danny Ainge Previously traded for Fournier while running the Celtics as well.
Knicks Senior Basketball Advisor Gersson Rosas has been a staunch supporter of Beasley and Vanderbilt since he traded for both players in the same four-team deal and eventually signed Beasley to a four-year, $60 million deal and Vanderbilt to a three-year, $13.8 million contract with the Timberwolves. Ironically, while Beasley was meeting with the Timberwolves and on the verge of agreeing to his contract, the current Knicks regime led by Leon Rose called to express interest in signing him, league sources told HoopsHype.
Vanderbilt and Beasley have also been discussed as part of a trade package with the Atlanta Hawks for forward John Collins. The Suns have also expressed interest in trading for the duo.
Separately, the Portland Trail Blazers have emerged as a “strong suit” for Vanderbilt, according to to reports from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little is a name to monitor in the trade talks, HoopsHype has learned.
Utah has also done due diligence on other wing players, including Dallas’ Dorian Finney-Smith and Charlotte’s Jalen McDaniels ahead of the deadline.
Indiana, who has had an interest in trading for Collins, has also expressed interest in trading for Vanderbilt, as HoopsHype recently reported.
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