With the Nets facing a market for Irving’s services that is seemingly limited to only one team, it sounds like Rob Pelinka and the front office aren’t necessarily ringing Brooklyn GM Sean Marks’ phone off the hook just yet, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (h/t our friends at Nets Daily):
“Similar to Durant, I think it’s a very slow-moving market right now. I think certainly unlike Kevin Durant, I think there is a limited number of teams where it might make sense. I do think there are teams that would like to do deals for him. It’s different from the sign-and-trade he tried to get. That’s where teams would have had to sign him for multiple years. He’s essentially on an expiring contract, and I think that teams that just need to improve their talent, they can take some risks with Kyrie Irving.
“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time, but so far right now, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Kevin Durant. They’ll develop over time, but listen both of these processes could play out, and they don’t have to trade either. They’re both under contract. They could bring them back to start the season. I don’t think that’s the ideal scenario for Brooklyn. I think it’s ‘try to find get the biggest haul of assets they can.’ But again, there’s a lot of time left in this off-season and a lot more talks that are coming.”
"The Lakers have yet, I'm told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there's no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 4, 2022
Now, some on Lakers Twitter were quick to point out that the last time Woj reported that a trade market was slow-moving for a star Nets guard who wanted out, said guard was traded the very next day. After all, during the James Harden saga, Woj shot down his own colleague Brian Windhorst’s report that the Nets and Sixers were “trending” towards an agreement and “in the deal zone” on Feb. 9 by saying the very same day that “right now, there’s no negotiation going on between Philadelphia and Brooklyn... The idea that they are going back and forth that’s been surmised by some is I don’t believe that to be accurate.”
Harden was traded to the Sixers within 24 hours.
But acknowledging what happened there — and that Woj seems to be pretty plugged into the Nets’ side of things — doesn’t necessarily undermine this report. After all, why should the Lakers be “aggressive” in pursuit of a guard that, again, no other NBA team seems to want?
Stein: Mavs have no plans to pursue to Kyrie in a trade. Lakers are the only team trying to get Kyrie— Ralph Mason (@Ralph_MasonJr) July 4, 2022
This is the time when Pelinka should become the most annoying GM in your fantasy basketball league, and push the most insane, insulting trade offers he can think of. “Sure Sean, we’ll take Kyrie off your hands, but we’re gonna need Seth Curry too. I can give you Russ and a top-55 protected second-round pick in 2027.”
That may not be conducive to rapid negotiations that end with Irving in a Lakers uniform quickly, but with apparently no other team wanting to trade for him — and Brooklyn still trying to figure out a deal for their other superstar who wants out — it’s understandable that the Lakers aren’t necessarily starting a bidding war with themselves. Negotiations start out far apart, and come towards a middle ground over time. The Lakers have no reason to “aggressively” close that gap quicker than they have to if no one is going to force their hand.