The answer to that question likely ended any conversation in the Lakers’ front office about Irving, but according to Ian Begley of SNY.TV, that conversation took place and there were at least some conversations with the Nets about it.
Several outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets had been open to talking to teams about potential Irving trades [while he was away from the team due to being unvaccinated]. Obviously, nothing came to fruition. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during that stretch of the season, sources say.
The deal would have obviously reunited Irving with LeBron James. It’s unclear if the Lakers reached any internal consensus on Irving at the time. And it doesn’t really matter at this point.
Here are my three thoughts on this:
1) The Lakers should have had some internal conversation about Irving — that’s what front offices do. They should look at everything, consider every angle and possible move, even if some of those ideas are discarded quickly. Saying a front office “had internal discussions” about a player borders on meaningless, they discuss everything.
2) That conversation between Los Angeles and Brooklyn might have gone something like this:
Lakers: “We’d like to talk to you about Irving’s availability. How do you feel about an Irving for Russell Westbrook trade?”
Nets GM Sean Marks then hangs up the phone while laughing.
Early in the season the Lakers realized the Westbrook fit wasn’t working; getting a player of Irving’s caliber back would have been worth a conversation. However, Marks is a smart man, that idea would have been DOA. Without Westbrook (or Anthony Davis) in the deal, it’s very difficult for the Lakers to construct any reasonable trade for Irving.
3) Would Kevin Durant have let it happen? Durant is still the player the Nets are counting on to anchor a championship team, and he said he and Irving grew closer this season. This summer, the Nets are likely to re-sign Irving to a max contract and then bank on him and Durant being around more next season and helping the team contend.