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 Friday, sources said. And now the Clippers — who have been in the trade market for a point guard — are looking into a possible deal too, sources said.
Irving has not given the Nets a list of preferred destinations, but there is strong mutual interest between him and the Lakers that goes back to the summer. LeBron James is an immense proponent of making a deal for his former Cleveland 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 are determined to find a deal for Irving ahead of the NBA trade deadline Thursday at 3 pm ET, sources said. Brooklyn has been working to find deals that can keep the Nets in contention with the relatively imminent return of All-NBA star Kevin Durant, who has 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 will be eligible to sign a two-year, $78.6 million extension with his new team until June 30.
He did not play in Saturday’s win over the Washington Wizards because of right calf soreness. The Nets are 32-20 but have lost seven of 12 games since Durant was sidelined.
Irving, 30, is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game this season.