Lakers legend Magic Johnson knows where Kyrie Irving should be dealt
Irving said he would become a free agent if he isn't dealt following failed contract extension talks with Nets
With Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving requesting a trade prior to the deadline on Thursday, NBA legend Magic Johnson knows where he wants to see him go.
"Personally, I’d love to see Kyrie in the purple and gold," Johnson tweeted on Friday, referencing his Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving requested a trade from the Nets on Friday, reportedly telling the team he will become a free agent if he isn’t dealt by 3 p.m. Thursday.
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Irving and the Nets had failed contract extension talks recently, as he is seeking a maximum-salary deal around four years, $198.5 million, according to ESPN.
This news came just days after Irving was named an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference after averaging 27.1 points per game for a 31-20 Nets team that’s currently sitting fourth in the conference.
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Irving also sat out Saturday night’s home game against the Washington Wizards, with Brooklyn saying it was due to right calf soreness. When his image appeared on the Jumbotron, Nets fans were heard booing him due to their frustration with the polarizing guard.
The Nets are reportedly keeping Irving sidelined until they can finalize a trade, according to Bleacher Report. However, if a trade isn’t made, The New York Post said Irving could sit out the rest of the season.
The Lakers are considered the front-runner to land Irving, who won his only NBA title in 2016 with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After missing the playoffs last year, and being in 13th in the West right now, James and the Lakers want to add someone who could push them into the postseason conversation.
When the news broke Friday, James posted to Twitter an eye and crown emoji, which is assumed to be about Irving’s availability.
But, though the Lakers seem like a solid destination, there are some questions about the extension he wants. The Los Angeles Times reports pessimism about Irving being dealt to the Lakers because he wants a maximum salary deal, which would be that four-year pact. The Lakers reportedly favor no more than a two-year deal instead.
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Lakers GM Rob Pelinka will be the one making the deal, but James’ opinion is certainly considered in situations like these. He called it a "’duh’ question" when asked if he’d want Irving on the squad.
The Los Angeles Clippers are said to have made the Nets a "strong offer" already, according to The Athletic. The Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are also rumored as possible destinations.
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After starting the year 2-5, Brooklyn won 16 of 18 games from Nov. 27 to Jan. 4., and Irving has been a key in that. But he was suspended earlier this season for tweeting an antisemitic film and was unapologetic immediately after. He missed eight games.