Kyrie Irving's trade request must be giving the Brooklyn Nets déjà vu, and I'm not talking about Kevin Durant asking out. Last summer, Irving could have become a free agent and signed wherever he wanted. He preferred to sign a long-term deal with the Nets, but when the two sides couldn't agree on terms, he gave them a list of sign-and-trade destinations. According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks were on his list. None of them had the cap space required to sign Irving outright. 

Four days later, ESPN reported that the Lakers were the only team actively pursuing a sign-and-trade for Irving, and the Nets weren't interested in what they were offering. That same day, Irving announced that he would pick up his $37 million player option and return to Brooklyn.

In other words, Irving wanted to sign an extension with the Nets, but not on their terms. His leverage was that he could leave as a free agent, but that didn't move them. And now this whole thing appears to be happening again. 

On Jan. 25, Bleacher Report published a story, quoting Irving's agent/stepmother Shetellia Irving, about him seeking a contract extension. "The desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension, which means the ball is in the Nets' court to communicate now if their desire is the same," she said. Nine days later, with the trade deadline approaching, Irving asked out. Brooklyn did offer him an extension, but it had "guarantee stipulations," according to The Athletic, and Irving declined it.

Irving is eligible to sign an extension worth up to about $200 million over four years, which is roughly the same as what he can get from a new team in July, provided that he is offered his maximum starting salary of $46.9 million. None of the teams that were on his list last June, though, will have that kind of cap space next summer. The Houston Rockets project to be capable of signing him outright, and the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz aren't far off. Is Irving interested in any of those teams? Are any of those teams interested in Irving? If none of those teams are a match and Irving doesn't want to sacrifice money, then any suggestion that he could leave in free agency is again an empty threat.

As currently constructed, the Lakers could clear almost $34 million in cap space, but only if they renounce all their free agents. Their recent trade for Rui Hachimura, who will be a restricted free agent, suggests that they instead are planning to operate as an over-the-cap team. If that's the plan, then they can only get Irving by trading for him. 

According to ESPN, Irving has not given the Nets a list of teams this time, but he's interested in the Lakers and they're expected to pursue a trade. Dallas is another Irving suitor, as first reported by Marc Stein. ESPN reported that there is interest, but, "like most teams, the Mavericks have had had a reluctance to make significant offers of assets for Irving." It is unclear what Brooklyn would be looking for in a potential trade, but, after last season's James Harden trade request, which it honored, and all the Durant/Irving drama last summer, team president Sean Marks has maintained that the team is all-in on competing for a championship. 

None of this is to say that Irving won't be traded before next Thursday's deadline. But the Nets likely aren't worried about him walking and them getting nothing in return. Marks can credibly dismiss lowball trade offers that take them out of contention. And just like last summer, even though Irving is looking elsewhere, he still has to work with Brooklyn. While he can demand an extension less than three months after the team suspended him during an antisemitism scandal, and he can create another huge distraction when he doesn't get what he wants, he can't trade himself.