The NBA has just started up and of course, there will be some overreactions from fans. Many have already stated which teams they're high on or low on despite it only being a short period of time since the beginning of the season. There's no doubt that a lot can change over the course of the season, and we've definitely seen teams either improve from a bad start, or get worse despite beginning the season well.
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report has recently written an article about "panic trades" that franchises could potentially do in response to the start of the season. One of those trades featured Kyrie Irving going to the Los Angeles Clippers. This would certainly be a trade that could alter the landscape of the league.
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Kyrie Irving, Jevon Carter
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Eric Bledsoe, Luke Kennard, Keon Johnson, 2028 first-round pick, 2022, 2023, 2024, and 2025 second-round picks
The topic of a Kyrie Irving trade is a complicated one, and there's no guarantee that he would play for the Los Angeles Clippers. He would be able to join forces with Tyronn Lue once again though, who was key to the Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers winning a championship in 2016. On top of that, unlike his situation in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving would be able to participate in every single game for the Clippers.
An opening night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Nets' biggest threat in the Eastern Conference, should at least cause a little concern for Brooklyn fans who still don't know when or if Kyrie Irving will suit up for the team this season.
Any trade involving Irving will be extremely tricky as well, as the partnering team will need confirmation that he'll actually show up and agree to play.
One possible destination? The Clippers, a franchise that would reunite Irving with the head coach (Tyronn Lue) he won a championship with.
While Los Angeles joined New York and San Francisco as cities with strict vaccine mandates, the new rule does not affect Staples Center, meaning Irving could participate in all home and away games whether he chooses to get vaccinated or not.
Swartz mentions that it will be "nearly impossible" to get a package that can fully replace Kyrie Irving for the Brooklyn Nets. However, if Kyrie Irving continues to be unavailable, it could make sense to move him in order to give Kevin Durant and James Harden the best chance of winning a championship.
Eric Bledsoe and Luke Kennard are both solid veterans who can contribute to a winning team. While the majority of the draft compensation offered would be second-round picks, they would get Keon Johnson as a young prospect. Johnson was viewed as a good defender with great athleticism coming into the 2021 NBA draft.
Getting Bledsoe gives the Nets a starting-caliber point guard to plug in for Irving, and Kennard is the perfect sniper to spell starter Joe Harris in the second unit. Picking up five draft picks in the process sets Brooklyn up to make future upgrades to the roster, and the Nets suddenly have a nice collection of young talent by adding Johnson to fellow rookies Cam Thomas and Day'Ron Sharpe.
It's going to be nearly impossible to get equal value for a superstar like Irving, but Bledsoe, Kennard, Johnson and picks make the Nets significantly better and more flexible moving forward than the current Irving-less version we saw on opening night.
It remains to be seen if the Brooklyn Nets do end up trading Kyrie Irving or not. However, it was previously reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that the Brooklyn Nets have taken calls from other teams about Kyrie Irving, and that suggests that there's definitely interest from other teams about the electric point guard. With that being said, the Brooklyn Nets haven't actively tried to trade Irving.
Any team with James Harden and Kevin Durant is automatically a contender, but Kyrie Irving is the piece that pushes them over the top. Obviously, the ideal situation for the Brooklyn Nets is Kyrie Irving being able to return and play, but his situation looks like it won't change anytime soon. Perhaps it would be best to get some contributors in return, even if the package isn't exactly "equal value" for a player of Irving's talent.