The NBA rumor mill is starting to heat up ahead of draft night and the Los Angeles Lakers are the focus of much of the talk. While Russell Westbrook has been mired in rumors for half a year, there is a new guard linked to the team. Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving was the talk of the town in Los Angeles recently.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania says the seven-time All-Star is at a “dead end” on a new contract with the Nets. That opened the door for the guard to switch teams. The Lakers are an interesting possibility as Irving and LeBron James have had a lot of success together, then were teammates with the Cleveland Cavaliers and won a championship in 2016.
Hailing from the East Coast and growing up a Nets fan, Irving is in his ideal situation. However, it’s been a difficult three years in Brooklyn and he may regret leaving LeBron. Going to the other side of the country and playing for the Lakers could be the career restart he needs. Though the two had an ugly breakup, LeBron seems on board for a reunion.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers star has spoken to Irving about potentially joining in Los Angeles, but it’s far from a guarantee it will happen.
“There’s a credible rumor floating around that, for starters, Irving has actually been dating Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James recently… I’ve been told it would be a stretch to say the Lakers are currently pursuing Irving, however . ‘ Stone wrote.
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If Irving doesn’t want to be a Net anymore, the Lakers have two options: sign him as free agency or act for him. Unless they’re willing to give up Anthony Davis, a deal is unlikely to go through as Brooklyn wants nothing to do with Westbrook. If the Lakers can’t find a team willing to pick up the guard’s salary, the only way to sign Irving directly is to strike a mid-level exceptional deal with Los Angeles.
If he did, he would lose up to $30 million in annual salary. It’s hard to imagine Irving doing that, but he’s not the most predictable player in the NBA.
At the end of the day, these rumors are most likely a negotiation tactic used by Irving and his agency. As previously mentioned, he’s in his perfect situation in Brooklyn. If they can stay healthy, they’re better than the Lakers right now.
If Los Angeles didn’t have Westbrook’s contract to deal with, maybe a move might be an option. Irving had a great relationship with Kobe Bryant during his lifetime, so there might be appeal in wearing the same purple and gold jerseys that the Hall of Famer wore. If the Lakers want to make a push for the guard, they need to lean on that aspect of the franchise.
CONTINUE READING: All-Star Free Agent wants to be Laker: “It’s not really a secret”