A potential reunion between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James has been rumored for a few weeks now. The rumors were certainly surprising given how Irving left LeBron on the Cleveland Cavaliers demanding a trade in 2017. At first, it felt like the rumors were primarily for leverage for Irving’s contract negotiations with the Brooklyn Nets. The idea of Irving being willing to leave the Nets and sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for the $6 million mid-level exception was tossed around. However, then Irving opted-in to the the final year of his contract in Brooklyn, and it seemed he would play the season in a Nets uniform.
But less than 24 hours later, the Nets got news that Kevin Durant would be demanding a trade to get out of Brooklyn. Without Durant, there is no way that Kyrie wants to remain in Brooklyn and no way that the Nets want to deal with him. Now, the Nets remain looking for possible trades for their two star players. Just about every team in the NBA is interested in completing a Kevin Durant trade, but for Irving, the suitors look to be much slimmer. The Lakers remain the most likely trade partner for a Kyrie Irving deal, and both Irving and James are reportedly interested in being reunited.
LeBron James Wants Kyrie to be a Laker ‘More Than Anyone’
On July 2, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that the two teams remain engaged in trade discussions to swap Irving with Russell Westbrook and that there is growing optimism a deal will get done.
“There’s palpable optimism that an agreement can be struck between the two sides this offseason, but there remain a few hurdles, sources said,” Haynes wrote.
The deal is reported as coming down as the Nets want the Lakers to take on the salary of Joe Harris in a deal, and the way a deal doesn’t get done is if Los Angeles is unwilling to do so.
Marc Stein added to the reporting on Sunday, July 3rd, with how LeBron would feel about the Lakers adding Irving this offseason.
“James, I’m told, wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone. What other team, furthermore, has a LeBron-sized personality with the experience to cope with all the chaos that comes with adding Kyrie? James, remember, has often thrived in chaos,” Stein wrote.
James and Irving have both made favorable comments of each other in recent years now that some of the hard feelings from Irving’s 2017 departure have subsided. Irving even recently commented on the split in an appearance on the May 16 episode of the “I Am Athlete” web series.
Irving Expressing Regret for Cleveland Departure.
In May, Irving commented on the Cleveland situation and expressed some regret for how he handled the situation and not talking with LeBron about how he was feeling.
“We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving said. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did [talk to LeBron], because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us, and we know how much power we both had together.”
“Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it,” he added.
Perhaps this reunion could help solve some of the lingering what if’s, and despite being a few years older, the two could have a shot to contend in the always competitive Western Conference.