In the wake of Thursday's bombshell that Kevin Durant has asked for a trade from the Nets – and the team is working with his camp to make it happen – it now seems more likely than not that Kyrie Irving will follow Durant out the door, just a few days after Irving opting in to his 2022-23 player option seemed to have calmed things down. SportsLine offers updated odds on Irving's next team, and clearly bettors at Caesars Sportsbook think he might be headed to the Lakers. Los Angeles has taken huge action to win the 2023 NBA title over the past 24 hours or so.
Since Thursday afternoon when the Durant news broke, the Lakers have dropped from +2200 to win the 2023 NBA title to +1000 seventh favorites at Caesars. In that span, LeBron James & Co. have gotten 52 percent of the handle on the prop, better than three times more the next closest team, the Suns. Phoenix is among the favorites to land Durant and a +600 co-favorite with Golden State to win next season's championship.
Yes, ESPN's Brian Windhorst speculated on Thursday that there was a way for both Durant and Irving to land with the Lakers and maybe that simply spurred some betting action, but no one thinks that realistically will happen. Clearly the relationship between KD and Irving isn't great if Durant requested a trade knowing Irving was going to play in Brooklyn next season. The Lakers simply don't have the assets to acquire both – perhaps no team does.
Before Irving opted in, he made it clear that he wanted a sign-and-trade to the Lakers. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported that Irving wants to re-join LeBron "as soon as he possibly can" and has "been telling people he wants to be in L.A., he's been telling people he wants to wear the same uniform that Kobe Bryant once wore."
The Lakers are not interested in trading Anthony Davis, so the Nets would have to take Russell Westbrook and multiple draft picks for Irving, or get a third team involved if they don't want Westbrook. Windhorst said this morning that any deal involving Irving will have to wait until Durant is moved.
In theory, Irving could play out this season in Brooklyn and then become an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers are projected to be $70-80 million under the cap next offseason. However, the Nets are likely tired of this sideshow and James only has so many good years left, so it would benefit both parties to get a deal done this summer.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: If not the Nets, which team will Kyrie Irving be playing for to start 2022-23 season?
- Lakers -300
- Mavericks +500
- Clippers +700
- Knicks +800
- Heat +900
- Bulls +1200
- Grizzlies +1300
- Timberwolves +1500
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