The Lakers and Nets have ground to a complete halt in their trade negotiations over Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving. While there have been multiple aspects of the trade that the two sides have expressed mutual interest in, that holdup has largely come as a result of the Lakers’ hesitancy to include multiple first round picks in the trade to offload Westbrook and the Nets’ insistence on the matter.
The Lakers’ lack of urgency was a fair stance to take in the discussions, but with the summer progressing and the preseason nearing, the heat was slowly going to build up for the Lakers to do something with seemingly untenable Westbrook situation.
That move may have finally come on Wednesday when Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News report that the Lakers were now willing to offer that second first round draft pick.
Elsewhere, there doesn’t appear to be much traction on a Durant deal, though the Los Angeles Lakers are now reportedly willing to include both 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks in a deal for Kyrie Irving. Earlier in the offseason, the Nets were unwilling to take back Russell Westbrook in any Irving deal. It is unclear if their stance remains unchanged or could change depending on what is received in a potential Durant deal.
If this is the case, it’s an unsurprising move for the Lakers in the long run. It always felt like a negotiating stance to not include two first round picks and one that the Lakers were likely going to eventually budge on.
Having the opportunity to trade for a player like Kyrie is one that doesn’t come along often, and doing so by also shedding Russ’ contract seems like a golden opportunity. The Lakers were going to play hardball for a while but you can’t negotiate yourself out of a deal like this by failing to include a draft pick seven years in the future.
The question will be if this is enough for the Nets to budge, or will a third team — like, say, the Utah Jazz — need to be included to make things work. But with the Lakers caving first, we’ll have to wait and how Brooklyn might counter.