It appears Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has opted to put on the recruiting hat a bit in order to help his former team. While Bryant and Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving have a close friendship, the latest rumblings point to that playing a big role ahead of 2019 NBA free agency.
While there’s no guarantee that Irving will choose the Lakers, NBA analyst Ric Bucher joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd and revealed some eye-opening information. According to Bucher, Irving is down to the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, via FOX Sports Radio.
“The latest that I’ve heard is that it’s between Brooklyn and the Lakers. And I’ve heard that the Lakers – and Kobe Bryant indicated to me that he was not involved … but I was told in the last 24 hours, Kobe has been busy recruiting Kyrie, in particular, to try to get him to the Lakers. Everything that I”ve heard, I would still expect that Kyrie is going to go to Brooklyn, that’s the odds-on favorite. And if we’re going to continue our real estate, he just bought a place in South Orange.” Bucher said.
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Obviously, this is huge to hear, and Bryant’s influence on Kyrie may be a legitimate game-changer for the Lakers this offseason. Whether or not it pans out remains to be seen, and even Bucher points out above that the Nets are still the odds-on favorite.
Lakers’ Interest in Kyrie Irving Started With Magic Johnson
While Magic Johnson is long gone (but still making noise in the media) after resigning this offseason, it was revealed that Irving was among his top targets this offseason. As Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times reported, the Lakers were expected to target either Kawhi Leonard or Irving for their max contract this offseason under Magic.
With the news that Irving and LeBron James sorted out their differences earlier in the year, it’s not the slightest bit surprising to see the Lakers targeting the top-tier point guard. And when Irving was spotted in Los Angeles recently it led to speculation ramping up even more, although he wasn’t doing much which would point to him directly landing with the Lakers next season.
Kyrie Irving Free Agency Rumors
With chatter around the Lakers and Nets picking up steam, it poses the question of where things may stand with the New York Knicks. It was originally believed that Irving was going to head to the Knicks with Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, but that talk may be cooling off a bit.
If anything, it appears somewhat likely that there’s a better chance the Nets could wind up with Kyrie and KD together than the Knicks at this point. While there’s plenty of time before free agency officially gets underway, the rumors and rumblings are only going to pick up steam over the coming weeks.