This exhausting story has just taken a turn I never thought possible. Per ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly the only interested team in Kyrie Irving. All of this information is Per Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN, because who else but WOJ?
Irving would need a trade partner to get a long-term, maximum contract. Only the Lakers are interested in a sign-and-trade once free agency opens on Thursday. This only gets worse (or better?) for the Nets when Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported at the Nets are prepared to cut their losses with both Kyrie Irving AND Kevin Durant.
“They are prepared to lose both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. They would rather lose them both than go through what they went through last season, which was a miserable season under the situation that Kyrie Irving contributed to creating.”
Irving has a $36 million player option for 2022-23 and the deadline to opt-in or decline is Wednesday. Irving has reportedly shown interest in staying with Brooklyn, but the Nets have been understandably mum on offering Irving a long-term contract. Who wants to offer a contract to a player who cannot play any home games?
Mess and Pariah
Let's just be honest here. Who wants to deal with Irving's drama? Most cities are going to have strict rules around the COVID-19 vaccination. Irving's refusal to take better care of anyone around him, which he treats as some semi-persecution, has made it difficult, to say the least. How do you create chemistry with a player who 1) has never been a favorite teammate and 2) has made it clear he will not get vaccinated, and therefore makes himself to be a worse teammate? It's a mess. Whether you agree with Irving's decision, he's a pariah. Also, did Irving not leave Cleveland to get away from LeBron James? Now he's going to reunite with him? How would Irving fit on a team with James and Russell Westbrook? Last I checked, only one basketball at a time is allowed to be on the court. I just don't see how any of this could or would work. Do the Los Angeles Lakers really want this? They've been quiet on the subject. Given his vaccination status, could Irving even be able to play home games for the Lakers?
Call me an old-school NBA fan, a "boomer" (I'm 37 dudes), or call me whatever you want. This jumping ship, back and forth from these NBA players is weak. Durant is constantly considered the best player in the game but could never win a title without another MVP on his team. He's never led a team on his own. The same goes for Irving. Where would he be without LeBron James to have led him to a championship title? Titles aren't everything, but they do matter to these players, ostensibly. If Irving isn't looking to be the man, what is he looking for? Cleveland did not satisfy him, Boston did not come close to satisfying him, and Brooklyn is ready for him to leave. Where would Durant go? All we have are disappointing questions. The problem is that the answers are likely to be disappointing, too.