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Lakers Rumors: LA Thinks Nets Must Trade Kevin Durant Before Kyrie Irving Discussions

Erin WalshJuly 1, 2022

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The Los Angeles Lakers aren't going to focus on a possible move for Nets point guard Kyrie Irving this summer until Brooklyn moves Kevin Durant.

"Checking in with Lakers sources, they believe that the domino that needs to fall first in Brooklyn is finding a trade partner for Kevin Durant. Until that occurs, the Kyrie Irving conversations will kind of be put on the back burner," ESPN's Dave McMenamin said on the network's free agency special.

The news comes after ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported Thursday that Irving wanted to re-join LeBron James with the Lakers "as soon as he possibly can."

The Athletic's Alex Schiffer, Sam Amick and Joe Vardon also reported that Irving was focused on joining the Lakers leading up to the decision on whether or not to opt-in to his contract with the Nets for the 2022-23 season.

In addition, Jovan Buha and Amick reported that the possibility of Irving teaming up with James again is a real possibility.

However, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Friday on First Take that the Nets have "no interest in accommodating" Irving's desire to be traded. Brooklyn believes they won't get much in return for the veteran point guard.

Windhorst added that Irving would also have to wait for Durant's situation to play out before potentially being moved.

Durant requested a trade from the Nets on Thursday and Brooklyn should fetch a handsome return for the two-time NBA champion following the Utah Jazz's decision to trade Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for four first-round picks and a number of players.

While the Nets believe they won't receive much in return for Irving, the Lakers would almost certainly have to part ways with Russell Westbrook and some draft compensation.

Westbrook had a disappointing 2021-22 campaign, but he could benefit from a change of scenery and is certainly no slouch as he's a nine-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion.

However, Westbrook's $47 million salary for the upcoming season is undesirable and not many teams have been willing to engage in trade discussions for the point guard because of it.

If Irving were to team up with James again, the Lakers could make a deep playoff run in 2022-23 as the two found much success as teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-17.

The duo helped lead the Cavs to an NBA title in 2016, and there's no reason to believe they can't power the Purple and Gold to another title alongside Anthony Davis next season.

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