12:17pm: According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), sources with knowledge of the situation increasingly believe that Irving is willing to decline his player option and sign with the Lakers for the $6.4MM taxpayer mid-level exception.
In that scenario, Fischer writes, Irving could get a raise and a longer-term deal from the Lakers in 2023. The team still doesn’t project to have enough room to offer him a max contract at that point, but could theoretically get close.
Meanwhile, in his full story on the Irving situation, Wojnarowski writes that Durant “remained an advocate” for the Nets to give Kyrie a long-term deal.
In fact, according to Winfield, Irving’s camp has requested and received permission from the Nets to speak to other teams about potential trade scenarios. Alex Schiffer of The Athletic and Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter links) have heard the same thing.
Although those reports suggest Irving’s camp is looking into possible “sign-and-trade packages,” many of the teams said to be on the point guard’s wish list wouldn’t have the ability to acquire him via sign-and-trade due to their proximity to the projected luxury tax line.
Sign-and-trade talks also technically aren’t allowed until free agency begins this Thursday evening, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter). While teams and agents often play fast and loose with those rules, they may be a little more hesitant to do so this year after two teams were penalized last year for “gun-jumping” violations related to sign-and-trade agreements.
[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Sign-And-Trades]
Opt-in-and-trade scenarios – in which Irving picks up his $36.9MM player option for 2022/23 – would be more viable for many potential trade partners. Kyrie has until Wednesday to make a final decision on his option, and there’s a sense in both league and player circles that he may have played his last game in Brooklyn, says Winfield.
According to Wojnarowski, however, no teams besides the Lakers are seriously considering the idea of pursuing Irving, and Brooklyn isn’t believed to have interest in any trade package L.A. could realistically offer.
Wojnarowski’s report is similar to what he said during a TV appearance on Friday (hat tip to NetsDaily). At that time, Woj described the talks between the Nets and Irving as “acrimonious,” but suggested that no teams besides the Lakers were thought to have serious interest in the point guard. The other clubs reported to be on Irving’s wish list are the Mavericks, Heat, Clippers, Knicks, and Sixers.
“The interest isn’t mutual in several of these places,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN.
Here are more updates on the Irving situation:
- According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there are sources close to the situation who “strongly believe” Irving is trying to make his way to the Lakers. Amick, who gets the sense that LeBron James is “very open” to the idea, notes that most people around the NBA believe the Nets would have zero interest in taking on Russell Westbrook in any trade with the Lakers.
- Amick has heard that the Knicks have no interest in Irving and expect him to end up remaining in Brooklyn. Amick describes the Clippers as in “wait-and-see” mode when it comes to Kyrie.
- Even with the threat of Irving’s departure seemingly increasing and Kevin Durant‘s future uncertain, the Nets appear unlikely to relent and offer Kyrie a long-term maximum-salary contract, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said during a Monday appearance on Get Up (video link). “Everything I’ve heard, the max deal is not coming. The Nets are not going to be held hostage by the threat of Kyrie Irving (leaving) and then Kevin Durant following him out the door,” Lowe said. “They appear ready to actually take some kind of stand here. That doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be a fair compromise offer somewhere, wherever that lands.”
- While Lowe did suggest that a compromise between Irving and the Nets is possible, he believes Kyrie’s flight risk is real: “I do think this is a precarious situation for the Nets. I don’t think this is the kind of thing where it’s actually kind of calm and the media is blowing this out of proportion. I do think there are scenarios where in a week he’s gone and the Durant situation is wobbly.”