Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the LakersJovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.
A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.
A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.
If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.
A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.
We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:
- the nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Aytonsources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
- Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
- Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
- In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
- In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.