REVOLUTION: The New England Revolution take on Toronto tonight @ 7:30pm on 98.5 HD2 (Hubcast) and Streaming Here.

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on February 01, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Nets 121-111. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Superstar point guard Kyrie Irving is once again looking for a fresh start elsewhere.

Irving, in what can only be described as true Irving fashion, has given the Nets less than a week to make that happen ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, and has requested a trade in the midst of a slump that’s taken the Nets out of striking distance for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Oh, and Irving, who sat out Saturday’s game with an apparent calf injury, has not given the Nets a list of landing spot preferences.

And though the market for an Irving rental isn’t as robust as it should be given Irving’s overall talent level, there’s at least four teams who have emerged as a legitimate suitors for the 30-year-old guard, according to multiple reports.

  • Starting at the top and with the most obvious candidate, there’s been talk of the Lakers showing a legitimate interest in bringing Irving to Los Angeles and reuniting him with LeBron James.

    The history is obvious. No matter how it ended between the two in Cleveland, the fact remains that Irving and James formed a legitimately great one-two punch that took the Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals, and led the franchise to a championship title over the Warriors in 2016.

    During their time together in Cleveland, which ended with Kyrie forcing his way to Boston, the Cavaliers went 132-51 (a .721 winning percentage) with LeBron and Kyrie in action together.

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers posts up against Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2020 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 23: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers posts up against Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2020 in New York City. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

  • The Lakers are also perhaps the most desperate team, which makes them the likeliest Kyrie landing spot in a weird way, as this has clearly been an absolute mess of a year in LA.

    Ending Saturday night with a loss to the Pelicans, the Lakers find themselves in 13th place in the Western Conference, and are two games away from the final play-in spot in the West’s playoff picture. With a team that has both LeBron and Anthony Davis, that’s just downright unacceptable, and a prayer on Irving being the backcourt fix they need just might be worth it to the Lakers if the price is right.

    The Lakers could also use a trade for Kyrie as a way to finally move on from Russell Westbrook, who has been a tough fit with the Lakers from the jump.

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles as Patrick Beverley #21 and Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers defend during the second half  at Barclays Center on January 30, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 121-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles as Patrick Beverley #21 and Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers defend during the second half at Barclays Center on January 30, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 121-104. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • But the Lakers aren’t the only LA-based team with an interest in Irving, as the Clippers have emerged as a candidate to swing a trade for Irving, according to some Saturday night reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski.

    For the Clippers, who are in the fifth spot in the West by way of their 29-26 record on the year, the hope would be that Irving would help form a ‘big three’ with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

    There’s an element of desperation in the Clippers’ pursuit, too, as the franchise has yet to reap the rewards of the Leonard-George team-up since the team signed Leonard and traded for George back in 2019. The Clippers lost in the second round in the Orlando bubble in 2020, lost in the conference finals in 2021, and lost in the play-in round last spring after a 42-40 season put them into the mix as the eight seed.

    A move to the Clips would also reunite Irving with ex-Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue.

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 02: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dribbles against Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on February 02, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 02: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers dribbles against Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on February 02, 2021 in the Brooklyn. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Something working in the LAC’s favor? There’s no shortage of mid-tier contracts that the Clippers could or would move in pursuit of an Irving trade.

    Names and contracts that could be dangled out there by the Clippers include Norman Powell ($16.7 million), Marcus Morris ($16.37 million), Luke Kennard ($14.4 million), and more.

    The Clippers also have veteran guards Reggie Jackson and John Wall, two players who could be of varying interest to a team like the Nets in the event that they’re interested in trying to keep their 2023 window somewhat open with Kevin Durant still in town post-Kyrie.

  • PHOENIX, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 01:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on February 01, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Nets 121-111. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Footprint Center on February 01, 2022. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Count the Suns in on the Irving sweeps, too, according to Woj. And similar to the Clippers’ intrigue, this is the case of a team that simply wants more to show for their recent efforts at climbing the top of the NBA mountain.

    Two years ago, the Suns ran a No. 2 seed finish in the West all the way to the NBA Finals, where they came up short in a six-game series against the Bucks. Last year, the Suns improved their record and finished with the top record in the West, but took a step back with a second-round loss to the Mavericks.

    This year, the Suns, who have been playing without star scorer Devin Booker since Christmas, find themselves just above the play-in tournament line with a 28-26 record in the No. 6 seed.

    Given how difficult it is for anybody and everybody to stay patient in the NBA, the Suns obviously don’t want to risk taking a step backward for the third straight season.

    The Suns also have a leg-up on the competition in the sense that they could offer center Deandre Ayton, who has seemingly been the subject of trade rumors for a year now, to the Nets in any deal for Irving. And given the logjam that a Kyrie-Chris Paul would create, perhaps a Paul-for-Irving swap would be of interest to both sides.

    Beyond the heavy hitters, younger players such as Mikal Bridges and Cameron Payne would be of obvious interest to the Nets, though it’s unclear if that’s a reasonable request given the *waves hands* everything about bringing Irving into your team’s locker room.

    The Suns are also looking to complete a trade that moves Jae Crowder out of town, so consider him a potential money-filler in any hypothetical deal that gets Irving to Phoenix.

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks to pass as Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets defends during the second half at Barclays Center on October 27, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Mavericks won 129-125. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 27: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks to pass as Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets defends during the second half at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

  • Another interesting team reportedly in the mix for Irving: Dallas.

    The Mavs already have an absolute stud in their backcourt with MVP contender Luka Doncic, but it’s clear that Doncic needs some more help if the Mavs are going to elevate themselves out of mid-tier contender status.

    The Mavericks took a step forward last spring with a run to the second round (they lost in the first round in the two seasons that came before), but in the No. 4 seed by way of their 28-25 record, the Mavericks could be looking at another one-and-done with a potential first-round date with either the Clippers or Suns.

    And if they’re in on Kyrie, the Mavericks almost have to be in on him, too.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets defends Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the first half at TD Garden on February 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 01: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets defends Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the first half at TD Garden on February 01, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The commonality of the Irving suitors, as it relates to the Celtics anyway, is that all of them are out West.

    That’s fine with the Celtics, to be honest. Especially given the way the Celtics have handled the Irving and Durant Nets of late, with 10 straight victories over Brooklyn.

    It’s the return in an Irving trade, however, that will be of interest to the Celtics. Especially if the Nets make a trade designed to keep their current window open. Currently in the No. 4 seed in the East with a 32-20 record, the Nets could very well be a second-round opponent of the Celtics in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. If the Nets were to remove Irving from the equation but become a deeper (or at the very least more cohesive) team, that could actually help the Nets inch themselves just a bit closer to bridging the gap with the Celtics.

    One thing is clear though, and that’s that the Celtics have to be feeling like they dodged a massive bullet with Kyrie’s decision to go back on his word and jump from Boston to Brooklyn.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.