Lakers still trying to trade for Kyrie Irving in a deal centered on Russell Westbrook, per report

Kevin Durant has reportedly requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, and once he goes, Kyrie Irving, who just opted into his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season, could soon follow.

On Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s free agency special that it is “very likely that not only Durant but Kyrie played their last games with the Nets.” Earlier in the program, he said, “I think you can expect if Kevin Durant goes, [the Nets will] work really hard to move Kyrie Irving, too.”

Follow NBA insider Brian Windhorst added: “If Kevin Durant is on the first train out, Kyrie Irving will be on the caboose as far as the Nets are concerned.”

Every team in the league is going to call about Durant. Irving doesn’t have nearly the same kind of value. One team that has already shown interest in Irving, however, is the Lakers, and Windhorst reported that the Lakers will indeed try to lure Irving from the Nets in a trade that would have to include Russell Westbrook.

“Try” is the operative term here. The Nets don’t want anything to with Westbrook. What they might consider is taking Westbrook in a deal that also provides them with multiple future first-round picks, which the Lakers have been unwilling to include to this point.

The Lakers are trying to retain their draft equity for life after LeBron James, which could be coming sooner than later. He’s going to be 38 years old in December. He’ll be a free agent next summer.

Of course, LeBron teams don’t normally take the long view. They sell off whatever they have to in order to content at the highest level for however long they have perhaps the greatest player of all time. The Lakers basically flipped their entire future for Anthony Davis to get LeBron a star wingman, and it netted them a championship.

LeBron is still capable of being the best player on a title team. It’s risky business to be compromising what could be the last title run he has left for a couple future draft picks. Irving would make the Lakers a decidedly better team than they are right now. A legit title contender, assuming health, which could be a reckless assumption, but nevertheless.

Again, if Durant goes, the Nets are going to want to send Irving packing right behind him. The Lakers will trying to use that to their advantage, but the Nets know the Lakers are pretty itchy to not waste this upcoming season from LeBron, too. We’ll see if either of them blinks.

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