The Kevin Durant trade request has branched off into the reinvigoration of the Russell Westbrook trade speculation, with the Nets emerging as the likely trade partner and Kyrie Irving the Lakers target.
The Lakers desire to move Westbrook ( who, for a variety of reasons, they never should have acquired in the first place) is not only the worse kept secret in the NBA , but quite possibly in all of pro sports. This fact should put the Lakers on the wrong side of the leverage equation in any trade scenario. If I, a lowly sports and sneaker blogger from Albany, Georgia know this, surely the Brooklyn Nets , and every other NBA team, whose resources vastly dwarf mine, are aware of this.
Brian Windhorst has recently reported that a hangup in the trade talks was the Nets wanting include Joe Harris in any potential deal, where as the Lakers want Seth Curry. Harris was limited to just 14 games last season with an ankle injury that required surgery. His abysmal shooting in the conference semifinals last season aside, Harris is a career 44% three-point shooters and has lead the league twice in percentage from downtown ( 2018-19 and 2020-21). Harris is also has $37 million remaining on his current deal, $18.6 million in 2022-23 and $19.9 million in 2023-24 ; Curry while a year older than Harris , offers comparable, if not slightly better production and does so at a much cheaper salary and is also on an expiring contract.
This means the proceedings have essentially boiled down to a staring contest and who blinks first will be determined by the silent desperation of the Lakers to move on from Westbrook is outweighed by that of the Nets wanting to rid themselves Kyrie Irving. I think the Lakers will lose this NBA version of chicken, because Brooklyn does not have to do anything right now, Kyrie Irving is under contract, for at least this season, and despite his trade demand, Kevin Durant is for another four seasons. They can run it back with those two as their featured duo and see if , A. they can hash out whatever issues that are present or B, wait until a more palatable offer comes their way. Brooklyn is under no obligation to do this deal just because the Lakers came calling. Quite frankly, the Lakers, on their own, cannot put up an enticing enough offer to make it worthwhile for the Nets, or anything other ballclub , to bring on Russell Westbrook, and , at least in part, they have themselves to blame. Granted , Westbrook did himself abolutely no favors with how he played for the majority of the season but so pervasive was the media arm of Klutch Sports’ blame Westbrook for everything campaign ( to protect you-know-who, because deity forbid he gets criticized for anything) that after one subpar season , a former MVP is now considered almost a scrub. While it was successful in the short term in that shielded a cerrtain, at times, headband-clad superstar from any backlash, the campaign will prove to shoot the Lakers in the foot because it depresses his trade value.
On the Brooklyn side, the relationship with Kevin Durant may not be irrecoverable. Think back to 2007 when the late , great Kobe Bryant requested a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, instead of jumping the gun and trading him, they made another move, namely the acquisition of Pau Gasol, which turned into three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, ( ‘08, ’09 and ’10) and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. If Brooklyn wishes to retain KD’s services, this example should be their blueprint and beacon of hope.