Justin Ford/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets aren’t getting any traction on a trade centered around Kyrie Irving, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
During an appearance Tuesday on the Pat McAfee Show, Charania also cast doubt on whether will Irving wind up in L.A., noting he’s “not quite sure” a deal will take place.
Irving seemingly reaffirmed his commitment to the Nets when he told Charania he was picking up his $36.5 million player option for 2022-23. His exit now looks inevitable in the wake of Kevin Durant’s reported trade request.
The Lakers are perhaps the most obvious landing spot because an Irving trade would allow them to achieve something that was unthinkable earlier in the offseason: getting off Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million salary.
On Saturday, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported the two teams were “actively engaged” in talks over the swap: “There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said.”
However, Brian Lewis of the New York Post followed up to report that “any talk of a deal being close to done as premature.”
Charania’s comments Tuesday echo what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday on SportsCenter. Wojnarowski said Brooklyn was getting “no traction” at the negotiating table over deals involving Irving and Durant.
Wojnarowski added the Lakers haven’t taken an aggressive approach just yet, which could change as the offseason unfolds.
When it comes to both of these trades, Brooklyn has to remain patient because what happens this summer is likely to have an impact lasting years down the road. The return for Durant in particular could make the transition a little less painful and maybe even set the franchise up for contention with a new nucleus.
Likewise, the Lakers don’t have to be in a rush.
General manager Rob Pelinka has probably done most of what he can in free agency, so a Westbrook trade is the last big transaction on the table. And absent the Nets sending Irving to Los Angeles, finding a suitor for the 2016-17 MVP might be impossible.
Pelinka is presumably putting all of his eggs in the Irving basket, and going into opening night with Irving on the roster would be the wrong play for the Nets given how much it would overshadow everything else surrounding the team.
The fact that the two sides appear to be far apart now may not mean they have an unbridgeable divide.