NBA point guards are in demand.
Several teams can use an elite point guard – and aren’t they in luck.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade ahead of the Thursday’s deadline, adding intrigue to a potentially landscape-altering week in the league.
Irving, who was voted into the Feb. 19 All-Star Game as a starter, is in the final season of a four-year, $136.4 million contract and will be a free agent in the summer. Irving had wanted an extension with the Nets, but it appears the two sides could not find agreeable terms to a new deal.
There is a market – Irving’s history aside – for a point guard who averages 27 points, five assists and five rebounds and is one of the league’s premier shotmakers. However, the team acquiring Irving must have some inclination that he will re-sign because no team will want to give up significant assets for a player who will explore free agency in July.
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NETS:Kyrie Irving wants trade before next week’s deadline
We look at potential landing spots for Irving:
Los Angeles Lakers
There was talk before the season of a deal that would send Irving to the Lakers. Is it time for the Lakers to revisit that? Los Angeles recently acquired Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards but remains another deal away from making a jump into solid playoff contender. A trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Irving forms a potent offense. The Lakers have been reluctant to trade their first-round pick in 2027 and 2029 but the idea of those three playing together for the next few seasons could alter the front office’s thinking. The Nets would likely have to take back Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract and send another player to make a deal work.
The Heat have explored the point guard market (Minnesota’s D’Angelo Russell was/is a possibility), and with contracts of Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson, this is a deal that works on paper along with the Nets likely seeking draft picks. But with Irving’s baggage including the promotion of an anti-Semitic film earlier this season, this scenario seems unlikely for a team that suspended and traded Meyers Leonard for making an anti-Semitic comment while playing video games.
The Mavs have been searching for the right players to put alongside star Luka Doncic and create a championship contender. It hasn’t been easy, similar to Houston’s struggles to build a contender around James Harden when Harden played for the Rockets. A deal is possible if the Mavs include Spencer Dinwiddie and a low eight-figure salary, plus draft picks.
Phoenix has been searching for a deal since early in the season. Chris Paul has been in and out of the lineup and Devin Booker hasn’t played since Dec. 25. The Suns need backcourt help, and Irving can provide it. It would take some work on both sides to make this deal work in terms of outgoing and incoming salaries for the Nets.
The Bulls tried an ambitious rebuild on the fly, acquiring Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nik Vucevic and Lonzo Ball over the past seasons. But it hasn’t yielded notable success. It wouldn’t take much for the two sides to make a deal work given the salaries on the Bulls’ roster.
Just because Irving asked for a trade, it doesn’t mean the Nets will accommodate. In fact, the Nets didn’t trade Durant in the offseason when he asked out. The Nets risk losing Irving for nothing in return if they don’t trade him before the deadline, and the team knows that’s a possibility considering they offered him extension that, according to The Athletic, was not well received by Irving and his representation.