Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook? Lakers, Nets in talks

Kyrie Irving is apparently bent on playing with the Los Angeles Lakers next season. 

According to multiple reports, Irving’s in the process of trying to force his way to L.A. from Brooklyn. And one report Saturday even suggested that the Nets and Lakers were already discussing a potential deal that would involve Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers and Nets held some “optimism” that a deal could be struck, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo!

Haynes wrote that there are hurdles to clear, however, writing that the Nets “want shooting guard Joe Harris — who is recovering from left ankle surgery — and his remaining $38.6 million owed over the next two years included in the deal.” 

The Lakers, meanwhile, preferred to have Seth Curry over Harris.

Irving, a seven-time All-Star, signed a one-year tender with the Nets on Monday after previously pondering opting out, suggesting he was primed to suit up for the Nets next season.

But Kevin Durant turned that assumption into an afterthought Thursday afternoon with his shocking trade request. And shortly after Durant’s ask out, the Irving-to-L.A. rumors took on a life of their own.

While Saturday’s report of Irving-for-Westbrook talks in progress were interesting, the question remains: Should the Lakers go all-in for seven-time All-Star?

In the eyes of FOX Sports NBA writer Ric Bucher, the Lakers should definitely make an urgent push.

How serious should the Lakers pursue Kyrie Irving?

Kyrie Irving opted into his $37 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week. However, a report says that he is “focused on forcing himself to the Lakers.” Ric Bucher shares the primary reason L.A. should be all-in on Kyrie.

“I’m all in on the Lakers getting Kyrie Irving,” he said Friday on “Speak For Yourself.” 

“What are their alternatives?” he inquired. “How else are they going to get better? What other high-caliber players are saying, ‘I want to play for the Los Angles Lakers’? He’s going to have to force his way to the Lakers, but he’s not going to have to force his way out of the Brooklyn Nets. With KD going out of the door, they’re more than willing to move Kyrie.”

For Bucher, Durant’s trade request changes everything for Irving’s trade market.

“The Lakers aren’t adding pieces to KD and Ben Simmons anymore. Now, all of that has changed. It’s very possible that the Nets would be willing to take back less for Kyrie in a sign-and-trade, and therefore look at it as addition by subtraction. That’s what works in favor of the Lakers, they may not have to give up as much as they would’ve had to previously for Kyrie. 

“Also, KD has made it clear that he’d like to play with Kyrie Irving. I don’t see any way in which they get KD now, but where are the Lakers going? How much longer are they going to have LeBron [James]? If getting Kyrie now – regardless of what happens this season – means that you might get Kevin Durant down the line, that’s certainly worth getting Kyrie. I don’t have any expectations that Kyrie is changing things, or making the Lakers a contender by going there, but he certainly improves them on some level. I don’t see any other option for them to improve.”

When the Lakers initially inquired about the star point guard’s availability, Brooklyn’s interest in striking a deal with L.A. was incredibly slim. Could Durant’s change of heart incite a different stance from the Nets regarding Irving?

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