The drama we saw at the beginning of free agency in Brooklyn seems to have subsided a bit and been pushed to the backburner for the time being. Just over a week ago, it appeared that Kyrie Irving and BFF Kevin Durant were destined to be shipped out of town as soon as possible. While Durant has multiple suitors, Irving cannot say the same.
Leading the pack in terms of landing Kyrie is the Los Angeles Lakers. Irving purchasing a mansion in LA last week only added to the speculation. A trade to the Lakers would reunite Irving and LeBron James, plus rid the Lakers of Russell Westbrook, most likely.
Reports surfaced this week that the Lakers haven’t been “aggressive” in pursuing Irving via trade. It doesn’t look like everyone in the Lakers organization is onboard with bringing Kyrie to SoCal. James is probably the biggest advocate and could be the only one that wants to trade for Irving.
Before Kyrie opted into the last year of his deal with Brooklyn, it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Irving had a list of preferred teams he’d like to be considered as trade partners. That list included the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Mavericks, Heat, and 76ers. Since then, it’s come out that the Sixers and Mavs have no interest in trading for the All-Star guard.
Where the other teams are concerned, I’ll believe Miami is truly interested after that trade is finalized. Pat Riley would be ready to fight Kyrie over his approach to being a professional. I just don’t see how that works out for even a month. The Knicks are the Knicks and recently cashed out Jalen Brunson, so they’re out.
The Lakers’ situation is outlined above, and the Clippers picked up John Wall in free agency. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t trade for Irving, but they don’t have a ton of draft picks. Should Irving to the Clippers happen, it still wouldn’t solve their main issue, which is on-court leadership. Kyrie wants to lead, but others aren’t too keen on following other than his buddy Durant.
Irving quickly discovered that he’s not as hot of a commodity as he thought. Teams aren’t exactly falling over themselves, jumping in line, making offers. All his quirks and unpredictability have come back to kick him in the ass. Maybe this is good for Kyrie. He’s a great player that no team wants to invest in long-term. And certainly not the team he currently plays for alongside KD for now.
The fact of the matter is Irving dug the hole he’s standing in. He spent the last two years digging it and now finally realizes (hopefully) how deep it runs. Disappearing after the Jan 6, 2021, incident in the nation’s capital, deciding not to get vaccinated after apparently making the team think he would, his crazy quotes, like the dismissal of the Sixers needing a coach when Steve Nash was hired.
There’s always something with Irving that takes the focus away from what he does on the court. An NBA team would have to be foolish to go all-in with Kyrie after what he’s shown the world about his personality.
We could see Irving wait quite a while before he’s traded. Neither the team nor the rest of the NBA seem to be in a hurry. And with all this coming back to haunt Irving, he doesn’t have the self-awareness to recognize what’s going on and change. And even if Kyrie sees what’s happening (which he should), he’ll likely continue with business as usual.
I don’t see Kyrie committing to that level of self-reflection under the circumstances. It sucks to say, but he probably hasn’t learned much from any of this.