In the wake of the Brooklyn Nets making the decision to trade Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks instead of the Los Angeles Lakers, many fans of the purple and gold have been wondering what happened.
Was general manager Rob Pelinka willing to give up both of the team’s currently tradeable first-round draft picks? What offers did the Nets turn down, from the Lakers and other teams? Well, thanks to a variety of reports from a few of the league’s most plugged-in insiders, we have some answers to several of those frequently asked questions and more.
Let’s dig in.
What did the Lakers offer the Nets for Kyrie Irving?
Despite some wondering in this space and others on if the Lakers would really be willing to give up both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks for Irving despite not wanting to give him a long-term deal, according to Chris Haynes of TNT, Pelinka did offer both firsts to the Nets.
They just turned it down (in addition to an offer from the Phoenix Suns that included Chris Paul):
Sources: Brooklyn Nets received Los Angeles Lakers’ proposal that did include team’s two first-round picks (2027, 2029) and Phoenix Suns’ offer of Chris Paul, Jae Crowder and unspecified picks: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/cJuABbaYGy— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 6, 2023
Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed additional details about the Lakers’ offer:
The Lakers offered the Nets a package of Westbrook and two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 for Irving in the last two days, sources with knowledge of the discussions said — to which the Nets informed the Lakers that in order to make an offer to get in the Irving sweepstakes they would require all of their young players such as Austin Reaves and Max Christie and pick swaps in addition to Westbrook and the two first-round picks.
The Nets ultimately moved on from a possible Lakers framework to choose Dallas.
Shams never clarified whether or not the Lakers put those players on the table. However, his Athletic colleague, Sam Amick, indicated earlier on Sunday morning that Reaves and Christie likely would have been made available, if push came to shove.
Now, it has to be noted that the Nets would have been taking back Russell Westbrook in that deal as well, and for a team that still seems determined to win now with Kevin Durant, that may have been a nonstarter even if the picks coming back were better than the first and two seconds they got from the Mavericks. Both Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie will help Brooklyn compete more this year than Westbrook would have.
Still, that may not have been the only reason that the Nets turned the Lakers down, because there was reportedly another factor here:
Was Nets owner Joe Tsai ever willing to give Kyrie what he wanted and send him to the Lakers?
According to the sources of the always plugged-in Marc Stein, the answer to that question certainly seems to be “no.”
Emphasis mine, via Stein’s breakdown in his must-subscribe Substack:
The Nets, rather than trading with Phoenix or the Lakers, ultimately came away with the two Mavericks they wanted most and a better win-now duo than L.A. could offer: Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith. The Nets also succeeded, as one source close to the process put it, in meeting one of the presumed objectives held by team owner Joe Tsai by sending Irving somewhere other than the Lakers — his preferred destination.
It’s important to note that while I have no doubt that this is what Stein’s source believes, the phrasing there is still important: This is just what someone involved in the situation presumes a goal of Tsai was. It will be hard for us to ever know for sure, as likely only Tsai and Nets GM Sean Marks would know for certain if he was really this determined to get one last “win” over Kyrie, and they have no incentive to ever leak as much.
And even if it’s true that they didn’t want to send Kyrie where he preferred to go, if the Lakers’ offer had included more of the win-now players the Nets seem to desire in addition to the superior picks than the Mavs package had been, it’s hard to believe that Tsai wouldn’t have (even begrudgingly) allowed his front office to take it. Turns out trading all those types of guys for Westbrook came back to bite the Lakers one more time, but I digress.
In short, this isn’t a “Lakers tax” so much as it appears to be a “f--- you Kyrie Irving tax” from the Nets. For the Lakers and many of their fans, that specific clarification may not feel much better, but it’s important to acknowledge nonetheless.
Do any of these new details make you feel differently about this whole saga? Let us know in the comments below. And for all the latest heading into the NBA trade deadline, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers trade rumors tracker.