Could Kyrie Irving Go to Lakers After Asking Nets Trade to Trade Him?

Irving is averaging 27.1 points and 5.3 assists per game this season

Kyrie Irving is booed against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
Kyrie Irving may have played his last game for the Nets.
Maddie Meyer/Getty

Outspoken anti-vaxxer, noted anti-Semite and sometimes NBA point guard Kyrie Irving has requested that the Brooklyn Nets trade him to a new team by Thursday’s deadline and informed the club he will leave in free agency this summer if his demand is not met, according to ESPN.

Per The Athletic, the Nets recently offered Irving an extension that was not well-received by the 30-year-old and declined because it included guarantee stipulations. Sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations also told The Athletic there have been “principle differences that have emerged” between the Nets and Irving. Fair to wonder if the differences that have emerged have to do with Irving’s principles, or lack thereof.

Likely knowing a report about his request to the Nets was coming (possibly because he leaked the news himself), Irving sent out a tweet shortly before the story broke online that seemed to possibly reference a trade by vaguely referencing staying positive and moving on from a negative situation. “To my Peers: JUST BE YOURSelf and GROW! Keep people around who CELEBRATE YOU unconditionally and appreciates all of the hard work that gets put in,” he wrote. “Distance yourself from the folks who manipulate, hate, and hurt.”

If the Nets are the folks who manipulate, hate and hurt, who are the people that celebrate Irving and appreciate all the hard work he puts in? (Hard work that has resulted in him playing in just 143 games for the Nets over the course of four seasons in Brooklyn, by the way.) There’s no way to read his mercurial mind, but one possible answer would be his old buddy LeBron James.

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Teammates in Cleveland when the Cavs won the 2016 NBA Finals over the favored Golden State Warriors, James and Irving had somewhat of a falling out towards the end of their time together, but things between the two have seemed much more amicable as time has gone on. Earlier this week, Iring heaped praise on James after the Nets beat the Lakers.

“We gave the keys to the whole entire business to an 18-year-old kid and now he’s 38 years old and he’s still dominating,” Irving said of James. “I don’t think we should be surprised. I think we should congratulate and celebrate him as much as possible. Continue to enjoy the shows that he put on because it’s not going to be for too much longer.”

Perhaps Irving wants to help the show go on in Los Angeles and the Nets will be able to work out a deal to ship him to the Lakers. While figuring out matching salaries in the NBA is a popsicle headache, a trade of Irving and a lesser piece with a small salary for Russell Westbrook and his bloated salary checks out. Reuniting Irving with James would also put old Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Westbrook and Kevin Durant back together in Brooklyn.

Voted into this month’s All-Star game, Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game this season and is one of the main reasons the Nets are 31-20 and firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff race despite a terrible start to the season that got former coach Steve Nash fired. Losers of seven of their last 11 games since Durant went down with an MCL sprain, the Nets last took the floor in Boston against Irving’s former team and were blown off the court 139-96.

After the blowout loss, Irving served up some of his standard word soup to the media. “As a competitor, I’m not going to stop until I figure out what this methodology is to the Boston Celtics right now and why they’re so hot,” Irving said. “I think I have a main reason — is just how connected they are and how much they play together, how many minutes they’ve logged in together and again that chip on their shoulder.”

Or maybe the main reason is that the Celtics no longer have to deal with Irving and the dark cloud that follows him everywhere because he creates it. If Irving’s request is met, that cloud could be heading west to Lakerland.

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