Kyrie Irving spent most of the beginning of the 2021-22 NBA season at home. He was not allowed to participate in Brooklyn Nets home games because of a New York City vaccine mandate, and the team ultimately decided not to allow him to be with the team as a part-time player when the season began. This forced Irving to consider his future, and as he explained on The ETCs with Kevin Durant podcast, he even worried at points that he might get traded.
“It was only the journey to enjoy at that point, because I was sitting at home and — I don’t even want to say sitting at home, I was wondering at home what my future was going to look like, you know? Whether I was going to be traded, whether I was going to be released, whether I was going to get the opportunity to be on another team, how I was going to spin this for myself in a positive way,” Irving said.
The Nets obviously chose not to trade him, but teams around the league seemingly considered the possibility. One team that did just that, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, was the Los Angeles Lakers. Begley reports that the Lakers considered pursuing Irving, but it is unclear if they ever reached a consensus on doing so.
In the end, it likely wouldn’t have mattered even if they were interested. The Lakers had virtually nothing to trade. Yes, the Nets certainly would have been interested in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but it’s safe to say that the two of them would be off of the table. The Lakers had a point guard problem of their own in Russell Westbrook. The Lakers reportedly considered trading him throughout the season, but it’s unlikely that the Nets would have been interested in reuniting him with Kevin Durant and James Harden considering their experiences playing with him. Beyond those three, the Lakers lacked the salary to match Irving’s in a deal, even if they did have assets that would have appealed to the Nets.
The idea of reuniting James with Irving surely would have appealed to the Lakers on the court. The logic behind trading for Westbrook was to give James a secondary ball-handler who could ease his shot-creation burden. Irving has proven he can do so at a championship level. But there was just no feasible way of making it happen. Now the Lakers are considering their options with Westbrook and Irving will likely try to iron out a contract extension with the Nets. Any brief window for a trade these teams might have had is now closed.