Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are still at a stalemate in contract negotiations. As a result, the disgruntled former All-Star has put together a list of teams he’d accept a sign-and-trade to, and the LA Clippers are on it.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news on Thursday, a few hours before the 2022 NBA Draft.
ESPN Sources: If Kyrie Irving can’t reach an agreement to stay with Brooklyn, he has a list of teams he’d like them to consider on sign-and-trades, including Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat, Mavs and 76ers. None of those teams have cap space to sign him without Nets’ help.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
However, it’s not immediately clear that the Clippers (or any team on that list) would reciprocate Irving’s interest, although there were rumors earlier in the week that LAC would at least take a look:
Those are teams who Irving has interest in, but he isn’t necessarily a priority for all of them, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2022
Irving also reportedly might be willing to opt into a trade vs. doing a sign-and-trade, the latter of which would hard cap the Clippers (or any team acquiring him) and make a deal more difficult to construct. An opt-in and trade would theoretically be the much more desirable route for the Clippers from the perspective of having more financial flexibility to spend money on their roster:
Sources: Kevin Durant is monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2022
This now opens the path for Kyrie Irving to proceed on finding a new home via opt-in and trade.
Our own Josh Sexton made the case against the Clippers acquiring Irving, writing that the circus he’d bring, the culture the team has established, and how he’d take the ball out of their two best players’ hands makes him an iffy fit here at best. However, one of our other writers, Josh Mei, is more interested in the addition, writing that Irving’s sheer level of talent, how the deal would consolidate the team’s crowded roster to be stronger at the top, and Irving’s ability to provide injury insurance for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George all combine to make a deal for him worth the risk:
The Clippers already have a very good team. With Kyrie in tow, they could have a historic one. Whether or not a suitable move actually formulates is up to Los Angeles’ world class front office. And I, as a fan myself, will trust whatever decision they ultimately land on.
In my opinion, however, the inquiries must be made, the due diligence must be done. And if it does happen, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kyrie Irving in a Clippers jersey next year.
This breaking news story may update with more information and analysis.