“Do you think there is a lot of demand for your services on a long-term max contract? Then look for a sign-and-trade yourself, or sign up and trade. Good luck with that. Oh, and by the way, we don’t want to Russell Westbrook†
Kyrie Irving has until Wednesday to decide whether to opt for the $36.9 million he owes next season or become a free agent – and once he does, much of his already limited influence disappears anyway. It seems that relationship between Irving and the Nets has seriously deteriorated – he gave the team a list of destinations he would like to play for – and now the Nets give him permission to search for sign-and-trades (or opt-in and trades) for himself, reports Kristian Winfield in the New York Daily News†
While Nets GM Sean Marks and superstar ahead Kevin Durant Having not spoken this off-season, Irving’s camp has sought and obtained permission from the Nets to speak to other teams about sign-and-trade packages, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
The belief among both league and player circles is that Irving is gone and that the Seven-Eleven Era is over before it ever began.
Of the teams on the list Irving gave the Nets, a few teams aren’t interested — the Clippers and Mavericks, according to league sources — and the idea of pairing Irving and Harden in Philadelphia is laughable.
Then there are three teams left: The LakersKnicks and warmth.
Sources told Sam Amick of The Athletic that Irving wants to force his way into the Lakers. LeBron James is reportedly open to it, and getting Irving is the Lakers’ only realistic path back to title fight this season. However, finding an opt-in and trade that works for everyone is probably too big a mountain to climb. (Note: It should be an opt-in and trade, a sign-and-trade causes a hard cap, the Lakers would already be over. The problem for Irving is that once he signs up, he has no influence, the Nets no more I don’t need to trade him, he’s under contract for next season.)
The Lakers have two picks in the first round and the limited value of Languages Horton-Tucker to barter, which isn’t such an exciting offer, but that’s not even the main problem. For the money to work under the hood, the Lakers would have to send Russell Westbrook on a trade – and the Nets don’t want to try to pair him and Kevin Durant. The only way this works is to bring in a third team, and then things get tricky. The Thunder could do it before July 1, but they’ll want rosters and young players, and the Lakers don’t have enough of that to satisfy both the Nets and the Thunder. After July 1, the Pistons will have cap space, but they want to spend that on players that suit them (Miles Bridges?), do not enter into bad contracts. The best deal might be a three team with Charlotte where they send Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier to Brooklyn, but with Irving gone (and Kevin Durant could follow), the Nets don’t want to be stuck in that long-term money.
There just isn’t a good Lakers trade for Irving. If Irving wants to play for the Lakers, he may have to take a $30 million pay cut to play for the $6.4 million taxpayer center cut (which has all kinds of implications for his future Lakers salary).
The Knicks’ strange night moves were about clearing cap space to flee Jalen Brunson† New York sees what Irving is doing more as a public negotiation tactic than genuine interest and doesn’t focus on him, Alex Schiffer reports to The Athletic† If the Knicks decide Irving is serious, their best way to get him on the ground is to lose a lot more paycheck. Alec Burks† Nerlens Noël, Evan Fourier, linking first-round picks to them to get teams to take them — and create the cap space to sign Irving outright. Any sign-and-trade would erode an already not-so-deep Knicks roster (the Nets want RJ Barrett to start).
The Miami Heat is arguably the most realistic option on paper — and Irving and Jimmy Butler his friends. Tyler Herroz† Kyle Lowry, and a few picks might be the best offer on the table for the Nets. The idea of Irving in the more militaristic culture of the Heat would be interesting, but it’s the most reasonable trade for the Nets. Except, according to Wojnarowski, the parties are not talking.
Or Irving and the Nets can act like grown-ups, find a middle ground, draw an extension neither of them likes but can live with, and go on the hunt for a ring. That logic isn’t going to win the day though – sorry Nets fans.
Instead, Irving is now trying to find the right trade.
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Report: Nets authorize Kyrie Irving to seek sign-and-trade deals originally appeared on NBCSports.com