The Los Angeles Lakers made a serious effort to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets at the NBA Trade Deadline.
Ultimately, he was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks instead.
For a while there all parties involved indicated that they were fine with how things turned out.
Irving got a fresh start alongside Luka Doncic on the Mavs.
L.A. got a ton of roleplayers that allowed them to make a playoff push, which culminated in an eventual Western Conference Finals appearance.
That being said, between Irving’s admitted chemistry issues with Doncic, and the Lakers losing to the Denver Nuggets in devastating fashion, rumors about Irving coming to Los Angeles have reignited.
On the ‘Hoop Collective’ this week, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst presented the path for a reunion between Irving and LeBron James on the Lakers.
“If they jettisoned D’Angelo Russell,” Windhorst said.
“Malik Beasley has a team option, so they can just cut him. If they said, we are not going to sign [Rui] Hachimura or maybe tried to offer Hachimura in a sign-and-trade somewhere.
“It would take a little bit of maneuvering and Kyrie would probably have to not take the max or they would have to work on something with Dallas, but they can get there. They can keep [Austin] Reaves and get Kyrie if they make that a priority.”
Russell has been awful against Denver, so losing him (and his girlfriend) – much like Beasley – wouldn’t sting much. Hachimura, however, has emerged as an absolute star in the postseason.
Seeing him depart, much as would be the case with Reaves (and his girlfriend), would sting.
That being said, clearly the Lakers as presently constructed cannot win a championship. And next season James is just going to come back one year older and a little less capable of carrying a team in the way he used to be able to.
Bronny has a new girlfriend. https://t.co/TQPF9IhdoA
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 21, 2023
Irving has made it no secret that he wants to go to Los Angeles. He and James clearly want to play together. The Mavericks can obviously offer him more money, but they also can’t force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
He has all the leverage.
Will Irving finagle a path to the Lakers for the 2023-24 NBA season? Time will tell.