Latest On Kyrie Irving

Although Kyrie Irving ostensibly missed Saturday’s Nets game – a dramatic comeback win over Washington – due to right calf soreness, it’s safe to assume his Friday trade request was the reason he wasn’t on the court in Brooklyn.

The Nets are scheduled to play three more home games before Thursday’s trade deadline – Monday vs. the Clippers, Tuesday vs. the Suns, and Thursday vs. the Bulls – but we shouldn’t expect Irving to be available for any of those ones either. According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), Brooklyn plans to keep Irving sidelined until a trade is finalized.

And what if the trade deadline comes and goes without the Nets finding a suitable deal for Irving? According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link), the 30-year-old hasn’t made a decision yet on whether he’d sit out the rest of the season in that scenario, but Lewis says it’s a “nuclear option” that has been discussed.

Here’s more on Irving:

  • Although the Lakers are widely considered a frontrunner to land Irving, having been linked to him since last summer, sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times expressed pessimism about the odds of Kyrie being dealt to the Lakers.
  • As Woike explains, Irving’s expectations for his next contract are a factor working against a trade to the Lakers — the All-Star guard is expected to seek a four-year, maximum-salary deal, while the Lakers would prefer no more than a two-year commitment. A similar disconnect between Irving and the Nets is reportedly what led to his trade request in the first place.
  • Asked about the possibility of the Lakers acquiring Irving, LeBron James said it was a question for Rob Pelinka and the front office, but made it clear he wouldn’t be against a reunion with his former Cavs teammate. “Obviously, that’s a — what’s the word you use — ‘duh’ question when you talk about a player like that,” James said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
  • Russell Westbrook would have to be part of an outgoing package in any Irving deal involving the Lakers, but he said on Saturday that he’s not feeling any added pressure hearing his name in trade rumors once again, according to McMenamin. “That’s not up to me. Like I said, I’ve known this was a business since I was 18, 19 years old, since I got into it,” Westbrook said. “My dad taught me that at that age, getting to this league is a business, and people make whatever decision they make. And I’ll make sure I’m ready and professional, like I always have been and always will be.”
  • Law Murray of The Athletic explores the Clippersreported interest in Irving, noting that L.A.’s up-and-down season has made the team more open to pursuing Kyrie than it would have been last summer. Murray hears that the Clippers have made a “strong offer” for Irving.
  • While there’s no indication that Kevin Durant will follow Irving’s lead and request a trade before this Thursday, rival executives are hopeful that the Kyrie drama will help expedite Durant’s own exit from Brooklyn, perhaps as soon as this offseason, writes Sean Deveney of “I know (Nets owner) Joe Tsai came into this year looking at it like, ‘Let’s see how this plays out,'” an Eastern Conference GM said to Deveney. “Well, he’s seen how it has played out. … No matter what happens with Kyrie in the next few days, you have to think that Joe Tsai is going to say it is time to tear it all down and start over. And that means KD is next up.”
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