LeBron James is no stranger to making his personal preferences known to his teams’ front offices.
He did it with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He did it with the Miami Heat. And he has done it with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, fresh off the Lakers’ disappointing sweep from the Western Conference Finals at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, James is doing it again.
Throughout the playoffs, two possibly available guard options have made it a point to attend Lakers games: Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
Both seem to be available in a very general sense, but only one truly interests James.
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, it is something of an open secret what path James wants L.A. to take.
“There is a known preference to have Irving as the third star,” he noted.
“There are various machinations to make it work, including the Lakers creating upwards of $30-35 million in cap space by rescinding the free-agency rights of multiple players and declining multiple players’ team options.
“The Lakers could still retain Reaves if they signed Irving, though their depth would take a considerable hit. The Lakers could also acquire Irving in a sign-and-trade, but that would hard-cap them at $169.5 million and require the Mavericks to cooperate.”
Rumors of Young possibly getting dealt to Los Angeles have run rampant over the past few weeks. The Lakers are one of four teams viewed as frontrunners to acquire him if he Atlanta opts to move him.
But there is also no denying that Young is basically just an upgraded version of D’Angelo Russell – whom James is not too fond of.
Young’s defensive issues and inconsistent offense are eerily similar to what Russell brings to the table, albeit he is a slightly better scorer and distributor. Not by enough to justify his inability to guard literally anyone, though.
Irving is a far better fit with this Lakers roster. Plus, he and James have won a championship together before.
There is only one Boston Celtics star who has been consistently impressive. https://t.co/9hrbCgJLNX
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 25, 2023
So James’ preference for Irving certainly makes sense.
That said, nobody can offer Irving as much money as the Dallas Mavericks can this offseason.
Will James and the Lakers be able to overcome that obstacle and ultimately bring Irving to the Lakers this summer? One way or another, an answer will emerge in the coming months.
Related: Brittany Mahomes’ Wild Golf Day Photos Cause A Stir