As the negotiations between Kyrie Irving and the Nets continue, it appears that the All-Star point guard has zeroed in on his preferred next team.
Irving has provided Brooklyn with a list of teams he’d prefer the team to execute a sign-and-trade with, but his actual goal is reportedly to end up on the Lakers, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. Amick also says that LeBron James is “very open to the idea” of teaming up with Irving once more.
The first domino to fall in this scenario is for Irving to opt in or out of his $36.9 million player option for next season, which he must decide to do by Wednesday. Any formal discussions on a sign-and-trade can’t happen until 6 p.m. ET on Thursday.
The Lakers are believed to be the only team currently planning to explore a potential sign-and-trade, but the Nets are reportedly not interested in any of Los Angeles’ available packages, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
If Irving declines his player option, he would be eligible to sign with the Lakers on a $6 million exception.
Earlier reports had Irving eyeing the the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavericks and 76ers as potential sign-and-trade destinations. Talks between Irving and the Nets have apparently grown “acrimonious,” with Irving trying to get more long-term money and Brooklyn showing resistance to that notion.
Irving has only played in 103 of 246 regular season games since joining the Nets in July 2019. He has battled with injuries since arriving in Brooklyn and missed the bulk of team’s home games last season due to his refusal to comply with New York’s vaccine mandate.
Although his availability has been spotty, Irving has been impressive for the Nets when on the court. He averaged 27.4 points per game during the 2021–22 campaign while dishing out 5.8 assists and shooting 41.8% from beyond the arc on a career-high 8.2 attempts per contest.
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