The Los Angeles Lakers made their pursuit of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving over the summer no secret.
Negotiations between the two sides existed in some capacity for a while, before Irving ultimately opted into his player option for 2022-23 and ended all the hoopla.
By Irving’s own admission, he came very close to changing locales this offseason.
“Yeah, there were options,” he said.
The Lakers, obviously, were a big one. But are they still in the hunt for his services?
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the answer appears to be no.
“As for the prospect of adding Irving via free agency next summer, sources say he’s currently not a part of the Lakers’ long-term plans,” he wrote.
Obviously circumstances can change. If the Nets struggle, dealing Irving away suddenly becomes much more palatable.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are already getting booed off the court in the preseason. Whether Irving could have changed that or not is up for debate.
In any case, though – this will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on going forward.
Irving is a kooky guy. He has certain quirks that make him an unreliable partner to move forward with. But he is also supremely, supremely talented.
If the Lakers are truly trying to maximize what is left of LeBron James’ career, which it seems like they are, replacing Russell Westbrook with Irving in any way you can seems like a no-brainer.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/Yun5RrWYZf
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 3, 2022
Of course, if L.A. reaches a point where they are ready to call it quits on the LeBron Era and blow the whole thing up – then suddenly Irving is useless to them as well.
The beginning of the 2022-23 NBA season will be telling. How both the Lakers and Nets ultimately fare in the early going will have massive ramifications for all parties involved going forward.