The Brooklyn Nets and point guard Kyrie Irving appear to be headed for a messy separation this offseason, three seasons after the star joined the franchise in what was considered one of the landmark moments in the team’s history. Irving and teammate Kevin Durant were expected to make the Nets title contenders, but a series of events have prevented that from happening. Now, Brooklyn could be back to square one if Irving and Durant leave town.
Irving is the first domino to potentially fall. As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has some potential trade suitors in the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. Those are reportedly the teams Irving would want to go.
Let’s use the ESPN NBA trade machine to see how potential trades would play out in each situation. All deals assume Irving opts out his player option and the Nets execute a sign-and-trade move in free agency.
Nets get: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick
Lakers get: Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris
The Nets would go into a full reset, so Westbrook’s expiring contract is a bit more attractive. Reaves and Horton-Tucker have some potential and are on cheap deals, while the draft compensation is strong. Brooklyn also gets off Harris’ deal. The Lakers get a star guard and a lights-out shooter to maximize LeBron James’ final years in the league.
Nets get: Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, Cam Reddish, draft compensation TBD
Knicks get: Kyrie Irving
A trade like this would be geared more towards building a competent unit around Durant and Ben Simmons. The Knicks are going to have draft picks they can give up, and Irving will get the chance to play the Nets regularly as a city and division rival. Is Reddish enough to move the needle if there’s no other offer on the table?
Nets get: Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent
Heat get: Kyrie Irving
The Nets could ask for draft picks as well, but the Heat probably walk away at that point. Lowry was exposed a bit in the playoffs with his injury but he remains a championship point guard who helps the Heat defensively. Miami didn’t move Tyler Herro in a potential James Harden deal, so it’s hard to see the Heat dealing him for Irving after he won Sixth Man of the Year. Vincent is a nice rotation player for Brooklyn.
Nets get: Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Jaden Springer
76ers get: Kyrie Irving
I’m not sure either team has the appetite to deal with the other again after the Harden-Simmons deal at the deadline. Harris has to be included to make the salaries work, but would Harden want Irving in that locker room? This is an unlikely destination because we’ve already seen it go wrong with those guys. That’s why Harden is in Philly in the first place.
Nets get: Norman Powell, Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson
Clippers get: Kyrie Irving
The Clippers can’t offer anything on the draft front, but that trio going back to Brooklyn would be nice. Irving, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard would be a ridiculous “Big 3” but two of the three have not been on the court enough over the last few years. It’s hard to see the Nets agreeing to something like this unless they get word Durant is staying on.
Nets get: Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, 2025 first-round pick
Mavericks get: Kyrie Irving
The Mavericks were interested in adding Irving at the deadline this season before ultimately passing. It’s tough to see how Irving fits here with Luka Doncic, especially since the latter is going to have heavy usage again. Dallas made the conference finals with a scrappy group of role players and it is hard to see them blowing that up to get Irving. They’re more likely to just keep Brunson instead of executing a double sign-and-trade.