While there was some level of doubt for the last several days about whether or not the Lakers would include both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in their trade offer for Kyrie Irving, in the end, the team was willing to send them to the Nets in exchange for the unpredictable All-Star point guard, according to multiple reports in the aftermath of Brooklyn’s decision to instead ship Irving to the Dallas Mavericks.
But just because the Lakers were willing to make an offer for the part-time NBA player and full-time trade request enthusiast, that doesn’t mean they were completely oblivious to his perpetual unpredictability. In fact, according to Kyle Goon of The O.C. Register, the Lakers still had “serious” reservations about Irving, even if they ultimately appeared ready to go all-in for him in spite of such worries (emphasis mine):
While one person with knowledge of the team’s interest in Irving told Southern California News Group that high-level team officials had serious concerns about his professionalism and availability – especially considering that the Lakers would have had to at least consider extending him on max or near-max money beyond this season – according to Bleacher Report, the team was willing to part with both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to get the deal done. It fell apart, according to a report from The Athletic, because the Nets wouldn’t stop there, also desiring two of the team’s talented young players in Austin Reaves and Max Christie.
As Goon points out... The Lakers were obviously not that worried considering they tried to trade for Irving anyway. They almost certainly wouldn’t have been admitting this to a reporter if they had been able to acquire him.
But honestly, if they did hesitate, even a little... it’s hard to argue! Irving can be described as a lot of things, but “professional” and “available” won’t be used often. The reality is that due to a combination of vaccine skepticism, antisemitic film promotion, injuries and other reasons, the soon-to-be 31-year-old has played in a total of just 143 games in the last four seasons combined. And he wants almost $200 million for the next four years. And has quit on his last two teams when they didn’t do exactly what he wanted — in the case of the Nets, multiple times!
Frankly, the Lakers would be stupid if they were NOT concerned about those things. It’s likely why they were hesitant to offer Irving more than a two-year deal, even if they did acquire him. It at least partially explains why they weren’t willing to throw in all the extra stuff the Nets were asking for, either, even at the risk of being outbid. It definitely summarizes why Brooklyn was willing to wash their hands of a player who will start in this year’s NBA All-Star Game for just one first-round pick in 2029, a couple second-rounders and some role players. With all due respect to Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, they generally aren’t the types of names that headline an All-Star’s returning trade package.
With Irving on the Mavericks, none of this really matters all that much right now. But when we look back on this saga, and evaluate whether or not the Lakers made the “right” call to not push more chips into the table to try and get a deal done? Their reasoning for not doing so will be worth remembering as we continue to evaluate their decision-making.
For all the latest heading into the NBA trade deadline, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers trade rumors tracker.