Spurs could act as a third team to add Russell Westbrook to Kyrie Irving’s trade, report says

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets need each other. The Nets don’t want to keep Kyrie Irving, and the Lakers are the only team interested in adding him via a trade. As much as the Lakers want Irving, they probably want just as much out of Russell Westbrook’s contract. The problem lies in Brooklyn’s similar disinterest in hiring Westbrook for a salary of $47 million. No team in the NBA wants to pay Westbrook that much. If the Nets don’t, the Lakers need to find someone who can. There are very few teams capable of taking on such a contract.

But a possibility that is making the rounds? The San Antonio Spurs, which first swam through as a Westbrook destination ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. From there, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus delved deep into the mechanics of a potential three-team deal, and essentially the ice is relying on the roughly $37 million cap space that the Spurs can create. That’s not quite enough to fully absorb Westbrook, but if the Lakers were willing to take back a role player like Josh Richardson or Doug McDermott, it could make up the difference. The Spurs would probably be compensated for their troubles with a first-round pick. The Lakers have two tradable first-round players in 2027 and 2029. The Nets would create a $37 million trade exception by trading for Irving without taking any money back.

However, there are a few major hurdles that the teams involved must overcome before finalizing such a deal. The first is Gregg Popovich’s longstanding reluctance to engage with the Lakers. The Lakers and Spurs last traded in 1990 when Popovich was just an assistant to Larry Brown at San Antonio. When the Lakers attempted to land Kawhi Leonard in 2018, Mark Heisler of The Orange County Register reported that “One of Popovich’s ground rules is not helping Western Conference rivals, much less one with Lakers tradition and resources Popovich publicly complained about the Lakers’ 2008 acquisition of Pau Gasol, saying, “What they did in Memphis is incomprehensible.” The two sides here are not particularly friendly.

But the Spurs appear to be headed for a rebuild and strategically it might make sense for them to help the Lakers in this event as they would become vulnerable a few years from now if the Spurs are likely to plan to do so if they were to use future draft capital exonerate would argue again. It’s not like San Antonio has many other uses for that cap space at this point in the offseason. While there are usually other teams looking to save money, the idea of ​​an unprotected Lakers pick when LeBron James is in his 40s is probably the best San Antonio can hope for as a dump.

And then there’s the matter of role players changing hands. Would Brooklyn want someone like Richardson, McDermott, or Jakob Poeltl? Would the Lakers themselves require their pick from these players or Joe Harris or Brooklyn’s Seth Curry? Irving and Westbrook are the main protagonists in a possible deal, but the role players play a role here too.

Overall, the Nets don’t seem to be in a rush. Her focus is currently on resolving the Kevin Durant situation. San Antonio could offer Westbrook an acceptable home when the time comes to trade with Irving, but for now all signs point to protracted negotiations.

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