The Lakers are reportedly still exploring a trade for Kyrie Irving but having to give up multiple first-round picks may be a sticking point.
For the past few days, it’s become increasingly clear that the Lakers are the only team really interested in trading for Kyrie Irving. But making that happen would mean the Lakers would need to send out Russell Westbrook and likely have to attach some serious sweeteners to get someone else to take him on.
For now, it sounds like those sweeteners would have to include multiple first-round picks.
Why would the Lakers need to trade multiple first-round picks to get Kyrie Irving?
At HoopsHype, Michael Scotto explained how multiple first-round picks are likely to be essential to the deal:
In the speculated blockbuster trade of Westbrook and Irving, the Nets would likely want a first-round pick to move Irving and take on Westbrook. The Nets would likely want an additional first-rounder to entice another team like the Spurs or Pacers to take Westbrook as the third team in a deal.
Basically, the teams that have cap space to take Westbrook aren’t going to view him as an asset on his own, and the Nets aren’t going to want to keep him either. The cost of paying a team like the Pacers or Spurs to fold Westbrook into their cap space (and presumably negotiate a buyout) would be a first-round pick.
Scotto also added that the “Lakers don’t want to give up multiple first-round picks to trade Russell Westbrook,” according to his sources.
One other potential wrinkle is that the Pacers may be more interested in using their cap space on an offer sheet or sign-and-trade for restricted free agent Deandre Ayton. That would remove a potential facilitator from the deal, giving the Spurs even more leverage to potentially extract more value and make the whole thing more fragile.
It all looks like a freight train heading for a cliff. Will anyone hop on to join the Lakers and Nets?