If your Internet went out Friday and you missed the latest Kyrie Irving drama, here are the reported basics: Irving demanded a trade from the Nets before next Thursday's deadline. The Nets offered him a contract extension that included a championship stipulation, which may or may not be tied to a non-guaranteed season at the end of the deal. So insulted by this conditional offer was Irving that now he reportedly wouldn't even sign a fully guaranteed max deal with Brooklyn.
Irving wants his money -- he just doesn't want it from the Nets.
So now it's all about what team, if any, would be willing to commit a max deal to Irving, who becomes a free agent this summer but is seeking a trade now so the team that acquires him can re-sign him with his Bird rights without needing max cap space, which very few teams have.
Trouble is, Irving is a problem. He doesn't see himself as a problem, but he is one. As such, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers and Mavericks, among rival teams with interest in acquiring Irving, would not be inclined to commit a four-year deal to Irving, and frankly would even be reluctant to commit for half that time.
Both the Lakers and Mavericks are win-now teams without the requisite talent to compete for a championship this season, and that makes them more inclined to consider an Irving deal.
However, neither team appears inclined to make a trade with the expectation of delivering Irving the long-term, max-level contract he's seeking, sources told ESPN. Both teams would be eligible to sign Irving to the two-year, $78.6 million maximum extension upon trading for him, but even rival teams with interest in acquiring him ahead of Thursday's deadline are cautious about trusting Irving with those levels of commitment, sources said.
The Lakers and Mavericks are also privately expressing limitations on offering significant trade assets for Irving, sources said.
This is what happens when you can't be trusted to just play basketball without threatening to blow up your team's season at any and every turn. Irving's talent is tantalizing. Teams are always going to be interested, but likely on their terms. Irving has likely lost the power to negotiate on his terms.