Windhorst: Nets Have 'No Interest' in Accommodating Kyrie Irving Amid Lakers Rumors

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 1, 2022

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) signals teammate during NBA game against Houston Rockets Tuesday April 5, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The Brooklyn Nets reportedly aren't interested in working with guard Kyrie Irving to find him a new home via trade.

Appearing Friday on First Take, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst discussed the relationship between Irving and the Nets, and what the future could hold for both sides (beginning at the 4:30 mark):

Regarding Irving's apparent desire to get traded, potentially to the Los Angeles Lakers, Windhorst said the Nets have "no interest in accommodating" him.

Windhorst noted that while the Nets would perhaps consider including Irving in a three- or four-team trade to balance out salaries, they don't view him as a valuable commodity and don't anticipate getting much for him aside from "maybe a draft pick or two."

It was also reported by Windhorst that Kyrie will have to "sit and wait for the [Kevin] Durant situation to play out" after Durant's agent, Rich Kleiman, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday that Durant had requested a trade from Brooklyn.

There was some expectation that Irving would opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent, but he made the surprising decision this week to opt in, locking in a $36.5 million salary for 2022-23.

According to Wojnarowski, Kyrie had previously submitted a list of teams to the Nets that he would consider moving to in a sign-and-trade deal.

Wojnarowski reported the only team on the list known to have mutual interest in Irving was the Lakers.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium later reported the Lakers were primarily interested in signing Irving as a free agent, since Kyrie would have had to agree to the $6.5 million taxpayer mid-level exception. L.A. couldn't have offered more than that due to being over the salary cap.

Kyrie opting in made the Lakers acquiring him more difficult, but Windhorst reported it isn't outside the realm of possibility that Los Angeles could send draft compensation and guard Russell Westbrook's expiring contract to Brooklyn for Irving.

It's safe to assume the Nets would likely be even more open to trading Irving if they trade Durant since parting ways with KD would essentially eliminate them from championship contention.

Irving has been surrounded by controversy since signing with the Nets in 2019, as he has missed significant time due to injury and missed multiple games last season because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kyrie is one of the best and most talented players in the NBA when on the court, though, earning seven All-Star nods and winning one championship during his 11-year career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Nets.

In 29 games last season, Irving was as good as ever with averages of 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 made threes and 1.4 steals per game.

Irving's one championship came alongside LeBron James in Cleveland in 2016, so there is some thought that they could combine for greatness again in L.A.

While other teams may not be willing to take a chance on Kyrie, the Lakers almost have to if they want to have any hope of contending for a title.

The Lakers went just 33-49 and missed the playoffs last season with both James and Anthony Davis missing time due to injury and Westbrook playing poorly.

There isn't much the Lakers can do to improve around LeBron and AD due to a lack of cap space and assets, but if they can swing a trade for Irving, it would at least give them a fighting chance.