In a surprise to nobody, the Lakers and Nets are ‘actively engaged’ in trade discussions for Kyrie Irving, as reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports on Saturday evening. Russell Westbrook would, obviously, be involved in the deal while the other pieces are at the center of the negotiations.
Draft compensation is an ongoing talking point for the Nets and they want shooting guard Joe Harris — who is recovering from left ankle surgery — and his remaining $38.6 million owed over the next two years included in the deal, sources said.
The Lakers have been disinclined to the inclusion of Harris, and are instead seeking the insertion of sharpshooter Seth Curry as part of the arrangement, sources said.
Haynes added...clarification(?) on the trade discussions from the Nets standpoint, those his string of words made little sense.
Brooklyn Nets maintain discussions have only been preliminary at this point, sources say. https://t.co/nKKTFGiMj2— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 3, 2022
It’s hard to have this many details about a trade but also to consider them “preliminary” but that seems to be an argument about semantics, I suppose.
On paper, Joe Harris makes a lot of sense for the Lakers. For his career, Harris is a 43.9% 3-point shooter and has hit 45% of his 3-pointers over the last five seasons, all in Brooklyn. But the concerns around Harris involve his injury history and his contract.
Harris played just 14 games last season before being sidelined in mid-November with his ankle injury and not returning for the remainder of the season. That comes a year after signing an extension with the Nets that will pay him north of $37 million over the next two seasons.
Seth Curry is the counterpart to both those points. Aside from an injury that kept him out of the league in the 2017-18 season, Curry has largely been a reliable player in the league across stops in Portland, Dallas, Philadelphia and Brooklyn. He’s also on an expiring deal, like Kyrie, that won’t cost the Lakers long-term money.
Those two are the ancillary pieces in the deal, though, as it seems the Lakers are as close as ever to moving on from Westbrook after just one season. The experiment was a huge question mark coming in and failed spectacularly. As much as the Lakers talked about heading into next season with him on the roster, it seems their actions differ from their words.
The up-and-down saga, meanwhile, of Kyrie flirting with the Lakers over recent weeks seems to also be close to coming to a close and, very suddenly, the franchise goes from lottery team to title contender in one swoop.