Despite the 2023 NBA Finals going on, the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James continue to steal headlines.
James sent shockwaves throughout the league when he said that he would consider retiring following an unprecedented playoff run to the Western Conference Finals. Although all indications are that James is set to return for Year 21, there are still questions about his immediate future with the Lakers.
In the midst of all that doubt, reports surfaced that Kyrie Irving reached out to James about teaming up with him in Dallas with the Mavericks. Irving will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer and this could very well be him signaling his intent to re-sign with the Mavericks and form the league’s newest Big 3 with himself, James and Luka Doncic.
This move could also be interpreted as a ploy from James’ camp to convince Los Angeles to try and acquire Irving via trade or free agency. However, the organization remains firm on its stance about potentially going after the mercurial guard, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
The Lakers, meanwhile, maintained on Monday that they aren’t interested in adding Irving this summer, according to multiple team sources who aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
While the Mavericks may be interested in adding James to their roster, they don’t have much to offer the Lakers in return, which is why L.A. views it as unlikely:
As for the possibility of James landing in Dallas for next season, one Lakers source characterized it as “unrealistic.” It’s logistically improbable, though technically possible.
The King could ask for a buyout from the Lakers, but it’s hard to imagine him foregoing all the guaranteed salary he’s owed over the next two seasons. The Mavericks could look to trade most of their roster and limited draft picks in exchange for James, but the purple and gold would need much more to even begin to consider a deal.
Dallas’ offer would likely include some combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans and Reggie Bullock for salary matching purposes along with their two promising young players in Josh Green and Jaden Hardy and the No. 10 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. The Mavericks also have one other future first they are eligible to trade, although all of that still isn’t nearly enough to acquire a player of James’ caliber.
The reunion saga between James and Irving will likely stretch into the beginning of free agency though. Irving represents a meaningful upgrade at the guard spot, but there are just too many hoops and hurdles the Lakers need to jump through to make it work.
Jaren Jackson Jr. and Paul George discuss if Dillon Brooks’ comments motivated LeBron James
James proved he could perform at the highest of levels in the playoffs despite being 38 years old. Dillon Brooks may have called him old, but James looked anything but in the first round against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Recently, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Paul George discussed Brooks’ comments and acknowledged that James and the Lakers seemed to use that as fuel to help win that series.
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