Kyrie Irving’s preferred destination was a no-go for the Nets.
According to a report from Marc Stein, one of Nets owner Joe Tsai’s “presumed objectives” was to not trade Irving to the Lakers, which was his “preferred” destination after he requested a trade from Brooklyn last week. A trade to Los Angeles would have reunited Irving with LeBron James, with whom he won an NBA championship back in 2016 with the Cavaliers.
However, Tsai — possibly at least slightly annoyed by Irving’s dramatic and tumultuous tenure in Brooklyn — did not want to comply with his wishes. The Nets ended up shipping the point guard to the Mavericks instead for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a future first-round pick and two second-rounders.
Brooklyn made the trade less than 48 hours after Irving’s request, ending a disastrous tenure in which the point guard refused to get vaccinated (causing him to miss home games for nearly a full season), was suspended for sharing an anti-Semitic documentary and played in only 143 games over three-and-a-half seasons.
James, who is nearing the NBA’s all-time scoring record, appeared disappointed by the news, sending a cryptic tweet after Irving was shipped to the Mavericks.
“Maybe it’s me,” James wrote on Sunday night.
Bleacher Report reported the Lakers did send an offer to the Nets for Irving, and that it consisted of Russell Westbrook and first-round picks in 2027 and 2029. The Nets countered by saying the Lakers would have to include Austin Reaves and Max Christie in any deal for Irving. Brooklyn arguably got a better package from Dallas.
The Nets will play their first game since the trade Monday night, a home tilt against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavericks play in Utah on Monday night, though Irving isn’t expected to make his debut alongside Luka Doncic until Wednesday.