Kyrie Irving has created a list of teams he’d like the Brooklyn Nets to consider working with on a sign-and-trade if he and the team can’t agree on terms for him to stay in Brooklyn, sources told ESPN.
That list includes the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers, sources said. None of those teams have the cap space to sign Irving without Brooklyn cooperating on a sign-and-trade, and sources said some of them aren’t interested in acquiring him.
The unvaccinated Irving, who has missed 123 games in three seasons with the Nets, has until June 29 to decide whether he will opt into the final year of the four-year max contract he signed with Brooklyn in 2019, when he and Kevin Durant chose to join the franchise as free agents. If he does, he will be on a $36.9 million deal for next season and will be an unrestricted free agent in July 2023.
If Irving opts out, he will be an unrestricted free agent next month, when he could either agree to a new deal with the Nets or seek one elsewhere.
Cavaliers make pre-draft deal with Kings
Adding another asset to perhaps use to bolster its roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the No. 49 selection from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the rights to forward Sasha Vezenkov and $1.75 million.
The deal, which was finalized hours ahead Thursday’s draft, gave the Cavs four picks — No. 14 and three second-rounders, Nos. 39, 49 and 56.
An extra second-round pick gives the Cavs’ front office another asset to potentially jump up into the late part of the first round. Cleveland’s in the market for another wing player to supplement one of the league’s best young rosters.
After winning just 22 games in 2020-21, the Cavs went 44-38 last season under coach J.B. Bickerstaff and barely missed the playoffs. They made the play-in tournament but lost to Brooklyn and Atlanta.
This year is the first time the Cavs haven’t drafted in the top 5 since 2018.
Vezenkov was acquired in 2021 from Brooklyn as part of the three-team trade that brought All-Star center Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. The Nets drafted Vezenkov with the 57th pick in 2017.
Lakers make move for first-round pick
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired the 35th overall pick from the Orlando Magic for cash and a future second-round selection.
The Magic will get either the Lakers’ second-round pick or Washington’s second-round pick, which is controlled by the Lakers, in the 2028 draft.
The deal allows the Lakers to buy their way back into the current draft after the club traded away both of its picks. Los Angeles’ eighth overall pick belongs to New Orleans as part of the Pelicans’ mammoth haul from the trade of Anthony Davis, while the Lakers’ second-round pick was moved in that same multi-team deal to Washington before eventually ending up with San Antonio.
Orlando still holds the first and 32nd overall selections in Thursday’s draft.
The Lakers have has a solid record of drafting good players and signing quality undrafted talent over the past decade despite meager draft resources. The Lakers have picked up Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Svi Mykhailiuk and Austin Reaves from the lower reaches of the draft pools over the past six years.
Los Angeles is in need of low-cost roster depth after finishing 33-49 and missing the play-in tournament this year. If Russell Westbrook exercises his $47 million player option, the Lakers will be above the salary cap from their commitments to Lebron James, Davis and Westbrook alone.