Irving needs a trade partner to coordinate an agreement on a deal to get a long-term, maximum contract, but only the Lakers have interest in executing a sign-and-trade once free agency opens on Thursday night, sources said.
So far, the Nets have no interest in taking back the available Lakers packages, sources said.
The uncertainty surrounding Irving's future with the Nets continues to leave the franchise vulnerable to a Kevin Durant trade request, but that has yet to materialize, sources said. Durant has four years left on his contract and remains an advocate for the Nets to commit to a long-term deal for Irving, sources said. Numerous teams around the league are preparing to pursue Durant, one of the elite players in the sport, if he becomes available.
Irving has until Wednesday to make a decision on exercising his $36.5 million option on the 2022-2023 season. Once he opts into the deal, he's no longer eligible for a sign-and-trade. The Nets could proceed working to trade him as an expiring contract, but Irving would have no formal voice in a potential landing spot.
Irving has great interest in joining the Lakers, sources said, which he could do by declining the $36.5 million option and signing with Los Angeles for the $6 million taxpayer mid-level exception.
The Nets have been reluctant to offer Irving a long-term contract, which is what he has wanted to remain with Brooklyn, sources said. Brooklyn seems to want to hold onto leverage with Irving on his contractual status, especially after his lack of availability the past two years.