Lakers Named ‘Potential Suitor’ for $232 Million 8-Time All-Star

Kyrie Irving guards Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kyrie Irving guards Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles Lakers have been named a potential suitor for one of the best players in NBA history.

In a March 10 article called “Top 2023 NBA Free Agents Who Could Realistically Change Teams,” Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale listed the Lakers as a potential suitor for Kyrie Irving, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The eight-time All-Star will have made over $232 million in his career once this season ends. He plays for the Dallas Mavericks after requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.

“Kyrie’s foray into free agency could be a non-issue,” Favale wrote. “The Mavs are flawed in exactly the way they look on paper, and there have been some crunch-time warts, but they are handedly winning the minutes he plays with Luka Doncic. This might just all end with a long-term sub-max contract, or a short-term max contract, or an agreement somewhere in between. Could it also end with Kyrie (taking a pay cut and) signing with the Los Angeles Lakers? Or with the Phoenix Suns getting involved, for some reason? Or with him eyeing another team to be determined later? Or with him saying or doing something that prompts the Mavs to prioritize cap space or sign-and-trade scenarios over his retention?

“A limited number of obvious suitors renders the most nuclear or off-the-beaten scenarios unlikely. Or perhaps they’re just tough to decipher. For all we know, the cap-rich Rockets could max him out at four years and $210.1 million after getting spurned by old-friend James Harden. And in the absence of other max offers, from Dallas included, Irving could take them up on it. When it comes to Kyrie, anything seems possible. Potential suitors to watch: Houston, Lakers, Phoenix.”

The Lakers tried to acquire Irving after the superstar requested a trade from the Nets. Los Angeles 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. Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis were privately upset when they heard that Irving landed in Dallas, league sources told Heavy Sports.

Reporter Who Covered LeBron James & Kyrie Irving in Cleveland: ‘I Believe Irving Will Be a Laker Next Season’

Joe Vardon of The Athletic believes Irving will sign with the Lakers this summer. Vardon covered James and Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

“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.”

James put up 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game alongside Irving in Cleveland, while Irving averaged 22.1 points and 5.3 assists next to James. The Cavaliers won the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors thanks to James and Irving.

Vince Carter Thinks Kyrie Irving Will Be on the Lakers as Well

NBA legend Vince Carter thinks Irving and James will reunite this offseason as well. LeBron drafted Uncle Drew during the 2023 All-Star Game Draft.

“I look forward to seeing how this plays out,” Carter said on the February 20 episode of ESPN’s “Get Up.” “More than likely, we probably will see Kyrie in a Laker uniform because of this,” a reference to James drafting Irving to play on his All-Star team.

Irving, 30, has career averages of 23.4 points and 5.7 assists with the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Nets and Mavericks.

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