For a couple of days, it seemed like the Los Angeles Lakers were going to get the third star they’ve always desired when Kyrie Irving asked to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets.
However, that dream came crashing down quickly as Irving was instead sent to the Dallas Mavericks. Los Angeles fans were upset with the result, with LeBron James even admitting he was disappointed he couldn’t reunite with the All-Star guard.
In his introductory press conference with the Mavericks, Irving addressed the potential deal with the Lakers and the prospect of teaming up with James again, via Ohm Yungmisuk of ESPN:
“I’m grateful for the opportunity, but I think you heard in his interview, as much as the what-ifs I would love to focus on and cherish and what could have been or what should be, I have to shift my focus to what we have going on here. And that’s what brings me peace is just taking care of what I can control in here and really embracing my teammates and being one of the leaders on our team alongside the coaching staff and the front office. Of just exemplifying what greatness looks like and that’s just worrying about the work. Chopping wood and carrying water. Like I tweeted the other day, it’s just the same thing everyday and just growing as a human being.
“Me and Bron have grown as human beings and he’s always going to be my brother, always gonna have great things to say about him and his family but my focus is here. Unfortunately, Lakers they’re doing what they’re doing and that’s it.”
While Irving and James won’t get to play together this season, the trade to Dallas doesn’t rule out a possibility of it become a reality in the summer. In an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Brian Windhorst laid out how Los Angeles could chase after Irving in free agency:
“The Lakers could absolutely, 100 percent probably make a deal with Russell Westbrook between now and Thursday. But that deal may only incrementally make them better and potentially cost them the draft picks or cost them the cap space that they have this summer. Rob Pelinka’s got to decide is moving the ball on this team that’s in 13th place a few yards ahead and giving them maybe a five percent or 10 percent chance more of getting into the playoffs or getting into the second round of the playoffs is worth blowing up the opportunity in the summer.
“Because by the way, the Kyrie story with the Lakers ain’t over. They can sign him this summer. They don’t have max cap space now, but they’ve got a lot of it if they keep Russ and say good bye in July. They can still do that. And so, here’s LeBron going, ‘Whatever we’re doing is fine.’ I mean, I know he really wants help but he’s also saying publicly to Mike Wilbon in front of millions of people he knows that are gonna see that interview within minutes because we turn that sucker around from Malika’s show and said, ‘Let’s get this on right now at the top of the show.’ He knew that and he gave the Lakers a pass. He goes, ‘It’s no big deal. We’re gonna be fine.’ So my question for the Lakers, what’s next is do they do something with Russ to get him off the roster even if it’s just to minorly upgrade their team and maybe take on players that ruin their cap space or do they just ride this out? That to me is one of the biggest questions between now and Thursday.”
With how unpredictable Irving can be, it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see a move of this magnitude happen. Until then, however, the situation in Dallas is worth monitoring as any sort of friction could push the mercurial guard to L.A.
Austin Reaves says it means a lot that Lakers were unwilling to trade him for Kyrie Irving
The Nets didn’t appear to be serious when negotiating with the Lakers on an Irving deal. Brooklyn reportedly asked for all the assets L.A. could offer including Austin Reaves. However, the Lakers were unwilling to part with Reaves who later said it meant a lot to him.
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