Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a playoff run. They have high hopes. Championship hopes. Yet at the same time, the offseason rumors still continue to swirl.
Cameras caught Irving and James embracing before the game, as the superstar point guard was in attendance to watch the Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
Earlier this season, the Lakers made a push to acquire Irving when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. And even though he was eventually traded to the Dallas Mavericks, some are still convinced he will end up in the purple and gold.
Irving is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and according to an executive who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett, Irving’s connection to the Lakers is far from over:
The interesting thing about that is they really did feel they made some progress with the trades,” the exec told Bulpett. “But how much of this do they really think will be solid going forward? I think we all know what they’re going to TRY to do this summer, but it’ll be tough. The fly in that ointment is what does Kyrie decide to do? And how do the Lakers get Kyrie money and get him there to see if they can’t go with the superteam troika? How do they pay for that? They’ve got to look at this as, ‘OK, how many years does LeBron have and how many years can they actually keep Anthony Davis engaged?’
Because AD ain’t got any great love for this game. So their window is a short one. Do they go after the superteam piece and figure out how to bring Kyrie in there? You know damn well Kyrie is not coming in for a discount. So do you stay the course and stick with D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell) and Rui (Hachimura) and all of that group and say, ‘OK, let’s play with the two stars and try and have some reasonable depth?’ I predict that they’ll try to figure out a way to pay Kyrie Irving and bring him in.
Lakers Could Star Chase in Free Agency
“The Los Angeles Lakers have little decided for their roster for the 2023-24 NBA season,” Buckley wrote on April 20. “Basically, it’s LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Max Christie and a boatload of vacancies. The Lakers could fill a lot of those holes with incumbents, either by bringing back their own free agents or picking up team contracts and fully guaranteeing deals with partial guarantees on them. It’s possible their degree of success this postseason could shape their desire to run it back with this bunch or not. They shouldn’t, however, feel completely locked into that strategy. At the least, they should check their external options in free agency. If they’re willing to walk away from a big chunk of this core, they could free up enough room to chase some of the top names on the market.”
Jeanie Buss Sends Playoff Lakers Message
In other news, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently sent a message to her team amid their postseason run.
“I’m proud of this Lakers team this season,” Buss said in an interview with Natasha Dye of PEOPLE. “We started off poorly, and it would’ve been easy to give up. These guys committed to each other and really came in the second half of the season and made a nice playoff push, which is really what the fans want. They made that sacrifice for the greater good, for the team, and they’ve accomplished a lot because of that.”