The Brooklyn Nets are reportedly at an “impasse” regarding All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and his contract negotiations. It was reported that Irving would most likely remain with the Nets earlier this month, but the possibility of a mutual agreement between the two sides seems less likely as the days go on.

Irving has a $36 million player option that gives him until June 30 to decide if he wants to opt-in or decline and become a free agent. However, if the Nets are not able to negotiate a contract extension the prospects of a potential trade become more likely. Potential trading partners would have to meet certain parameters for Brooklyn to realistically justify letting Irving go. Potential trade partners would have to be acceptable to Irving. Any trade packages would also need to bring back players that help the Nets compete. Brooklyn is not rebuilding as long as Kevin Durant is still rostered. Finally, due to cap restrictions, no 2022 free agents are able to be involved in the package.

With those parameters, a few teams emerge as potential destinations for Irving.

New York Knicks

While unlikely to land him via trade due to the lack of superstar talent on the roster, the Knicks have a path to clear cap space to sign Irving outright as a free agent. Any potential trade would involve a bunch of draft picks and realistically the Nets don’t have time to see if they pan out. It would also be ironic considering Irving decided to go to Brooklyn instead of the Nets in his 2019 free agency, only for him to end up at Madison Square Garden a few seasons later.

Los Angeles Lakers

This trade is nearly impossible without the addition of a third team. The Lakers are weighed down with three large salaries for Russell Westbrook (who Durant is not interested in playing with), Anthony Davis (who’s pretty much untouchable) and LeBron James. James is also untouchable, of course. Unless there is a third team to take on Westbrook’s contract and still provide the Nets with star power, a Lakers trade is most likely not happening.

Los Angeles Clippers

This is the most intriguing of all the trade destinations for Irving. The Clippers could easily do a Paul George-Irving swap but it is unlikely L.A. gives up an MVP-caliber player. The Clippers have a ton of assets and picks that would keep Brooklyn competitive. Whether it be Norman Powell, Marcus Morris or the young talented Terance Mann, the Nets would benefit from adding such talent. If the Clippers were to add Irving, it would make them instant championship contenders.

Other suitors such as the Heat, Suns and Jazz are also potential trade partners. Irving has yet to make a decision on his future with the Nets, and there have been no formal trade inquiries made.

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