If Los Angeles Lakers still have Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. as their team president, he’d go out of his way to trade for the Brooklyn Nets‘ disgruntled star Kyrie Irving.
After all, the Lakers legend orchestrated LeBron James’ relocation to Los Angeles in 2018 free agency. Now, he wants the star duo, who donned wine and gold for Cleveland and led the franchise to its first championship in 2016, to reunite in Lakers’ purple and gold.
Johnson tweeted that desire after the news of Irving’s trade request broke out Friday afternoon.
The Lakers registered interest in Irving last summer, but a Russell Westbrook swap wasn’t amenable to the Nets. Westbrook has since thrived in a Sixth Man role for the Lakers, who are 1.5 games out of the last play-in spot and just 2.5 games behind the sixth-seed Minnesota Timberwolves entering Friday’s games.
Irving requested a trade after declining Nets’ extension offer filled with guarantee stipulations.
Teams are leery of giving up too many assets for Irving, who can become a free agent this summer. But any team who will trade for him at the trade deadline will inherit his Bird rights and can go over the cap to re-sign him.
According to ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks, Irving cannot extend with his new team if he is traded and amends the 15% trade bonus. The maximum allowed on an extension is a $78.6 million, two-year deal with a new team, but only if the Nets pay him the trade kicker.
The Lakers have resisted putting their most valuable trade chips — their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks — on the table for a trade that would have netted them Buddy Hield and Myles Turner with the hopes of using them instead for a star trade.
Now that option has arrived.
A Westbrook-Irving direct swap isn’t feasible and would need a salary filler from the Nets.
But the Nets, currently clinging to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with Kevin Durant set to return sometime this month, are said to be not inclined to rebuild and instead would seek a win-now player to help their championship bid.
The Lakers would likely need to rope in a third team to supply the Nets with a win-now star for their picks.
Unlike last summer, when Irving’s market was dry, more playoff teams are interested in bolstering their chances with the Nets’ disgruntled star if the price is right.
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