The LA Clippers have joined the pursuit of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, sources told ESPN on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns — among others — have been engaging with the Nets since Irving’s trade demand on Friday, sources said. And now the Clippers — who’ve been in the trade market for a point guard — are probing a possible deal too, sources said.
Irving has not given the Nets a list of preferred destinations, but there’s a strong mutual interest with him and the Lakers that goes back to the summer. LeBron James is an immense proponent of making a deal for his former Cavaliers teammate, and the Lakers are operating as a motivated suitor for Irving, sources said.
The Nets are proceeding in talks throughout the league as though they’re determined to find a deal for Irving ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET, sources said. Brooklyn has been working to find deals that can keep them in contention with the relatively imminent return of All-NBA star Kevin Durant, who’s been out since mid-January with an MCL sprain.
After a brief back-and-forth on a possible contract extension last week, Irving ended talks and informed the team that he wanted to be traded, sources said.
Irving, who is in the final year of a deal that pays him $36.9 million, has been seeking in the neighborhood of a four-year, $198.5 million maximum extension available to him until June 30, sources said. If Irving is traded, he is eligible to sign a two-year, $78.6 million extension with his new team until June 30.
Irving did not play in Saturday’s game against the Wizards due to right calf soreness. The Nets are 31-20 but have lost seven of 11 games since Durant was sidelined.
Irving, 30, is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game this season.