The move would shakeup the landscape of the Western Conference and reunite the polarizing guard with his former superstar partner LeBron James. While Green admitted it the move could make the Lakers a contender, he doesn’t think it would be enough to compete with his Warriors.
“With LeBron James, if you give them someone like Kyrie… they’ll have a chance because of the way Kyrie can score the basketball,” Green told Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg. “LeBron will only put him in a position to do that. Kyrie has not proven to be a great leader. LeBron will put an umbrella over that. If you can do what you’re good at, you have LeBron leading.
“They could contend, but they won’t beat us.”
If the Lakers are able to make the numbers work and land Irving, it’d give them a certified star trio in Irving, James and Anthony Davis. But as last season proved with the both the Lakers and Nets, quality depth goes a long way. The star-laden squads were title favorites entering but disappointed, the Nets getting bounced in the first round and the Lakers missing the postseason entirely.
While it’s a bold statement by Green, he has earned his right to talk a little smack, with his Warriors registering their fourth title in eight years.
Lakers on Irving’s List of Preferred Destinations
The Lakers were among the list of six teams that Irving has interest in joining via sign-and-trade if he and the Nets can’t agree on terms for him to stay. The others were the LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers.
But as ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out, just because Irving wants to play there doesn’t mean teams will be interest.
“The interest isn’t mutual in several of these places,” Wojnarowski said. “Obviously the Lakers are the ones that loom. And will Kyrie Irving walk away from a $36.9 million player option that he can opt into and have that money guaranteed, especially after a year where he lost about $17 million by not being vaccinated last year and untold more with a sneaker deal that isn’t going to be there anymore, certainly at the level it was.”
Irving will turn 31 next season and is coming off a year where he averaged 27.4 points and 5.8 assists per game last year. He is a seven-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA Team member.
Situation Getting ‘Acrimonious’ Between Nets, Irving
Irving has until June 29 to decide whether or not he’ll opt into the final year of the four-year max contract he signed with Brooklyn in 2019. However, things don’t appear to be trending towards him staying.
“Listen, people try to gain leverage. If you’re Kyrie Irving, you’re trying to go get the Nets to give you a longer-term deal with more guaranteed money than they want to give. The Nets are trying to go in the other direction—shorter deal, incentivized, because he just hasn’t been on the floor as much as they’d like the couple years.
“This is getting acrimonious, and I think that’s the concern when you look at not just Kyrie Irving’s future in Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant’s future and whether they can hold this thing together right now.”
We’ll see how it shakes out but Irving appears ready for a fresh start.