Lakers: Kyrie Irving Trade Demand Is Reason LA Held Onto Draft Picks, Insider Claims

He’s a bit better than Doug McDermott.

Your Los Angeles Lakers’ trade prospects have been significantly shaken up with just five days left until the February 9th midday deadline.

After he and his representative balked at some stipulations in his contract extension offer, Brooklyn Nets All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving demanded to be traded from the team, threatening to leave in free agency this summer for nothing if retained. 

Jovan Buha of The Athletic notes that the Lakers had been holding onto both their tradable future first round draft selections (in 2027 and 2029) for what felt like a good long while, even as intriguing trade prospects like Myles Turner went more or less off the board, in the hopes that a discontented star would become available ahead of the deadline.

Sources inform Buha that LA would likely offload Russell Westbrook’s expiring $47.1 million contract and both of its available first round picks, albeit with lottery protections on one of the selections, to Brooklyn for Irving and probably sharpshooting wing Joe Harris. Buha cautions that the Nets would counter by trying to add a young role player on a rookie scale deal, like Austin Reaves or Max Christie, in the offing. The Lakers are currently reticent to do that. 

If they ultimately did have to throw in one of the two guards to make the deal palatable, Reaves is the more proven commodity, while the 19-year-old Christie may have more upside and be on a cheaper deal longer (he’s in the first season of his rookie scale contract, while Reaves will be a restricted free agent in line for a big raise this summer). Given the needs of the win-now Lakers, retaining Reaves over Christie makes sense.

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