Lakers Considered Landing Spot for $233 Million 8-Time All-Star

Kyrie Irving tries to block James Harden

Getty Kyrie Irving tries to block James Harden

The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for one of the best players in NBA history.

In an April 20 story called “Lakers’ Early 2023 Free-Agent Targets,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report wrote that Kyrie Irving is a player the Lakers should target this summer. The Dallas Mavericks star becomes an unrestricted free agent once the 2023 playoffs end.

“There have been whispers about the Lakers perhaps cooling on the idea of adding Kyrie Irving, but it’s hard to believe that’s a consensus opinion within the franchise,” Buckley wrote. “L.A. knows as well as anyone that stars win biggest in this league. And if it managed to lure Irving to town to team with his old championship running mate LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers would immediately have one of the best Big Threes in basketball. That core would admittedly have an uncomfortable amount of injury risk, and spending mega money on Irving could decimate the depth behind the Lakers’ stars. It still might be worth it given the immense amount of talent between these three. Irving is essentially a turbo-charged version of D’Angelo Russell. If the Lakers land Irving, they would immediately scratch itches for more ball-handling, shot-making, shot-creation and floor-spacing.”

Irving has been heavily linked to the Lakers since he played with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17. “Uncle Drew” and “The King” helped the Cavaliers win the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors in seven games.

The Lakers tried to acquire Irving after the eight-time All-Star requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka offered Brooklyn a package of Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 for Irving, according to a February 5 report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Nets wound up trading Irving to the Mavericks, who went 8-12 with the Duke product in the lineup.

1 Beat Reporter Thinks Kyrie Irving Will Be on the Lakers Next Season

Joe Vardon of The Athletic thinks Irving will be on the Lakers next season. Vardon covered James and Irving on the Cavaliers.

“I believe Irving will be a Laker next season,” Vardon wrote on February 9. “How’s that for a juxtaposition? Irving wants a four- or five-year contract, for the maximum money allowed. If he and the Mavericks reach agreement, it could be a five-year, $273 million deal. But Irving said he didn’t want to engage in negotiations now. ‘The business aspect of this is ruthless,’ he said. The Lakers can’t quite get to the four-year, $210 million max deal he would be eligible for outside of Dallas, but they can pay him north of $30 million per year. The teams with the cap space to pay Irving what he wants, outside of Dallas, are the Pistons, Magic, Pacers, Blazers and Spurs. They are all either rebuilding or, in Portland’s case, have a smaller, ball-dominant guard in Damian Lillard. In other words, getting that max deal outside of the Mavericks may not be possible.

“Enter the Lakers. James has made clear he wants to reunite with Irving. As partners in Cleveland, they won the 2016 NBA Finals, reached two others and were an otherwise dominant, unstoppable duo on offense. They have obviously patched up their differences that led to Irving demanding a trade away from LeBron in Cleveland in the summer of 2017. Irving’s apology helped.”

Irving has made over $233 million in his career. He’s played for the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Nets and Mavericks.

Lakers Reporter Reported in March That the Lakers Were Out on Kyrie Irving

Jovan Buha of The Athletic told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on March 16 that the Lakers wouldn’t pursue Irving this offseason. Buha covers the LakeShow for The Athletic.

“From what I’ve been told, they’re not going to be pursuing Kyrie Irving this offseason,” Buha said. “To my knowledge and to what I’ve been told, the Kyrie ship, I think, has sailed. You never want to say never. That could easily change, but as of right now, their plan is to run this (team) back.”

The Lakers could change their mind about Irving if D’Angelo Russell continues to struggle. D’Lo is averaging only 12.0 points versus the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the postseason.

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