The Los Angeles Lakers wanted to trade for Kyrie Irving to reunite him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wanted to come to Los Angeles to potentially contend for a title. Despite that, a petty Lakers tax kept Irving away from Los Angeles, instead sending him to the Dallas Mavericks.
Initially, it was believed that the Lakers did not offer enough to the Brooklyn Nets to convince them of trading Irving to Los Angeles. However, NBA insider Chris Haynes reported Sunday night that the Lakers did indeed offer both picks to Brooklyn.
There is no denying that the Lakers wanted to trade for Irving at the deadline and were willing (for the most part) to do what it took for the trade to happen. While the team did not end up with him at the deadline, this may foreshadow Irving’s potential arrival to the Lakers in the summer.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Lakers were only looking to give the Nets the kind of return they wanted if Irving was willing to agree to a two-year extension to match LeBron James’ contract. As we know, Los Angeles offered both first-round picks, so a two-year extension may have been in the cards for Kyrie.
Kyrie Irving could sign a two-year deal with the Lakers in free agency.
Kyrie Irving would undoubtedly be leaving money on the table if he were to sign a two-year deal with the Lakers in the summer. Not only is he potentially sacrificing years on his contract but the Lakers do not have the means to give him the full max contract.
That being said, if there was ever an NBA player that would take a pay cut to play where he wants to play it is Irving. There were legitimate conversations around him taking the Taxpayer’s MLE last offseason and this is a bump up from that kind of payment.
Plus, it is not like Irving is going to have a substantial market. While several teams wanted to trade for him as a rental option, committing to four years of Irving is a big risk for any franchise. There may not be any four-year deals on the table, prompting Irving to take a slash in pay to join LeBron and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles.
Nothing is guaranteed in the NBA, but the intel that the Lakers were only willing to make a trade if an extension was a possibility, and then went on to offer both second-round picks, does indicate that Irving was willing to sign a two-year extension to stay in Los Angeles.
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This could be something that we all look back at in July if Irving signs with the Lakers and wonder why we didn’t see it coming.