LeBron James ‘Badly’ Wants Lakers To Replace All-Star Starter With Kyrie Irving

Getty Images LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets.

All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving officially opted into the final year of his deal with the Brooklyn Nets just before the open of NBA free agency. Although some may think that equals the end of the drama between Kyrie and the franchise, the saga could be in its beginning stages. Irving and the Nets not agreeing to the terms of a potential long-term extension is telling. And as the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Irving, now locked into his contract for 2023, gives the Nets a clearer direction of where things are headed. The All-NBA guard will officially become a free agent next summer, and he could choose to leave the Nets. 

Jovan Buha of “The Athletic” says that when Irving does hit the free agent market in 2023, the Los Angeles Lakers could be atop the list of his preferred destinations.

“All indications are that the Lakers are Irving’s top destination if he leaves Brooklyn,” Buha writes.

“Whether it’s via a trade between now and the February 2023 trade deadline, or in free agency next summer, when Westbrook’s salary will be off the books.” 

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LeBron James ‘Badly’ Wants Reunion With Kyrie Irving

A Kyrie, Lakers union would not be that surprising. NBA Insider Chris B. Haynes of “Yahoo Sports” recently reported that the Nets and Lakers had preliminary discussions on a trade that would send Irving to the Lakers and Russell Westbrook to the Nets.

Irving on the Lakers would reunite him with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, with whom he won the lone title of his career in 2016. LeBron is clamoring for the Lakers to land Kyrie, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“As it stands, barring a trade to ship out Westbrook suddenly coalescing after weeks of fruitless talks, Ham is going to have to coach Westbrook,” Stein writes per his Substack account.

“Which is bound to be challenging in the extreme given that Westbrook is well aware that the Lakers have been trying hard to move him. And that James badly wants Irving to take his place.”

Kyrie, KD Frustrated by Coaching Changes

Durant and Irving have grown frustrated with the Nets’ organization since last season. One of the reasons for that has been several personnel changes, including assistant coaches Eli Carter and Adam Harrington, who were major fixtures on Steve Nash’s staff. Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, says that the departures of those two coaches have left the Nets stars feeling disgruntled.

“I know that someone who is tied to Eli Carter, a guy that knows Kyrie well, [he] was let go because of the whole vaccination portion of it. And then I’m told [he] was promised he could resume his assistant coaching situation once the mandates were what they were in New York City. No such dice,” Robinson said.

“In addition to that Kevin Durant’s shooting coach Adam Harrington was let go from the Brooklyn Nets. And I know that those two gentlemen are upset about how that was handled.”

Despite being tied down with the Nets in 2022, the Kyrie saga is far from over. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

 READ NEXT: Former Lakers Star Rips Kevin Durant for Trade Demand From Nets

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