Lakers weighing options after Kyrie Irving demands trade from the Nets
Published in Basketball
NEW ORLEANS — All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn, and like last summer the Lakers are among the favorites if the Nets decide to honor his trade request.
According to people with knowledge of the situation, the Lakers are interested in Irving, LeBron James’ former teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In addition to the Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat are possible trade partners with the Nets, according to multiple people. Irving, who makes $36.5 million, has been unable to reach a contract extension with the Nets and is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
Rumors circled that Irving’s desire was to play with the Lakers last offseason before he opted in to his contract with Brooklyn. The Lakers had their concerns, including committing significant salary and multiple years on a contract to a player who hasn’t always been reliable.
Irving’s time with the Nets has been fraught with controversy and roster turnover. Irving missed most of last season when he wasn’t allowed to play in Brooklyn for declining to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He was suspended this season, missing eight games after posting a link to a movie with anti-semitic messages.
He later expressed regret before returning to the court.
“I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it’s been since the post was first put up,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of time to think. But my focus, initially, if I could do it over, would be to heal and repair a lot of my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.”
The Nets dealt with trading for James Harden — and then sending him out to Philadelphia — and navigating Kevin Durant’s trade request this summer.
On the court, Irving’s been one of the best players at his position, averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He was selected as a starter for the East in the upcoming All-Star Game.
They’re currently fourth in the East with a 31-20 record.
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