Report: Nets' Joe Tsai Didn't Want to Trade Kyrie Irving to Lakers Prior to Mavs Deal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 6, 2023

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on before the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving reportedly wanted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers.

And Brooklyn Nets governor Joe Tsai didn't want to help make that happen.

According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, "one of the presumed objectives" for Tsai was to move Irving somewhere other than "his preferred destination" of the Purple and Gold. That is what ultimately happened, as they traded the eight-time All-Star to the Dallas Mavericks, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

That Irving apparently wanted to go to Los Angeles shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Not only do the Lakers offer perhaps the biggest stage in the NBA, he also would have been reunited with former teammate LeBron James. Irving found the most team success of his career when he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers with the King, winning the NBA title in 2016 and reaching the NBA Finals in 2015.

James may have been disappointed with Los Angeles' failure to land Irving as well and released a rather cryptic tweet Sunday:

LeBron James @KingJames

Maybe It's Me

The Lakers' front office at least tried, as Ian Begley of SNY reported the team offered Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick for Irving. However, the Mavericks gave up Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029.

It is a notable package of players and assets, but Luka Dončić now has another superstar to play alongside as the Mavericks attempt to build on last season's Western Conference Finals appearance.

As for the Lakers, there may not be many other realistic places to turn to ahead of Thursday's deadline if they plan on building a roster that could realistically win an NBA championship.

They are an ugly 25-29 on the season and two games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament. They don't have a number of significant assets outside of their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, and an argument can be made that this season's team isn't even worth sacrificing those picks for since even the playoffs are a question mark at this point.

Irving is talented enough to have changed the franchise's outlook in 2022-23, as a trio of him, James and Anthony Davis would be among the best in the league.

Instead, the Lakers find themselves in a battle to reach the play-in tournament without Irving on the roster.