The 2019 free agency class is even more stacked than the group of players who hit the open market this summer. With stars such as Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant all set to become available, major changes throughout the league could come next year.
The Los Angeles Lakers will undoubtedly have their eye on signing one of those big names and each one brings something different to the table. The potential landing spot for Irving has been a point of discussion as no one is quite sure where he will go.
ESPN’s Summer Forecast took a guess at where marquee free agents would wind up, and in the case of Irving, the Lakers were one of five teams predicted as a possibility.
However, Irving signing with the New York Knicks or remaining in Boston got the majority of the votes and ESPN’s Adam Reisinger explained why:
Irving grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, and might leap at the opportunity to play in front of home area fans. However, our panel also gave the Celtics a very good chance of retaining Irving — a chance that could improve if Irving and the Celtics take advantage of the LeBron-less East and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Overall, Irving joining the Knicks just edged out him remaining in Boston. The Knicks garnered 46.9 percent of the vote while the Celtics had 43.8. The Lakers were tied for third at 3.1 percent along with the Brooklyn Nets and Clippers.
Of the big names available next summer, Irving would seem to be the least likely to join the Lakers. Irving demanded a trade from Cleveland to be able to run his own team away from the shadow LeBron James.
So, choosing to re-join him just a couple years later wouldn’t make much sense. As it stands right now, the Lakers will have the cap room to add another big name next summer, but the odds of it being Irving seem pretty slim.