Clippers pursuing Nets star Kyrie Irving; Nicolas Batum the hero in win over Knicks

Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK — The pass from Paul George found Clippers wing Nicolas Batum in the right corner with 1.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

The 3-point shot left his hand six-tenths of a second later.

Just as fast, the groans were heard inside Madison Square Garden.

Batum’s shot ripped through the net, forcing overtime and staving off another fourth-quarter collapse, after the Clippers led by as many as 17 to begin the quarter. The literal last-second shot was the only 3-pointer the Clippers made in the fourth quarter.

Given new life, they did not miss their opportunity, pulling away over the five extra minutes to win, 134-128.

Yet for all of the late drama taking place in the heart of Manhattan, much of the night’s attention was on trade talks involving the team across the East River, as the Clippers have joined a number of suitors — a group that includes the Lakers — pursuing possible trades for Brooklyn point guard Kyrie Irving, people with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly on the matter confirmed.


The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday, but there is a belief the Nets could be motivated to make a move quicker than that. The front offices of the Nets and Clippers worked as trade partners in 2020.

Irving has generated a litany of off-court headlines and controversy since joining the Nets in 2019, from missing the majority of the 2021-22 season after he declined to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to a trade demand last summer and an eight-game suspension this season after posting a link on social media to a movie that included antisemitic messages. Then he reportedly asked to be traded again Friday over disagreements with the Nets over a contract extension.

Irving has supporters within the Clippers because when he is on the court, he is among the league’s elite at point guard, a position the Clippers have been looking to upgrade in the weeks before Thursday’s trade deadline. The Clippers have also been linked to trade talks for Toronto’s Fred VanVleet and Utah’s Mike Conley, among others.

With the Clippers, Irving would reunite with his former coach in Cleveland, Tyronn Lue, who coached Irving at his career’s ultimate high during the 2016 championship run with LeBron James. Irving has played 40 games this season for Brooklyn while averaging 27.1 points and 5.3 assists on 48% shooting.


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