The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to land one of the best players in NBA history.
According to the latest odds from Sportsbetting.ag, the Lakers have the best odds (+200) to acquire Dallas Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving. The eight-time All-Star becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Since Irving played with Lakers superstar LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17, Kyrie has been heavily linked to the purple and gold. Los Angeles tried to acquire Irving from the Brooklyn Nets after the Duke product requested a trade, but the Mavericks swooped in first and that didn’t sit well with James.
“I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent, but someone that I had great chemistry with,” James told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon in February. “And know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes.”
Kyrie Irving Named ‘Realistic Trade Target’ for Lakers
In a May 4 story titled “Lakers’ Most Realistic Trade Targets in 2023 Offseason,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report called Irving a trade target the Lakers can “realistically afford.” Buckley believes Los Angeles and Dallas can execute a sign-and-trade deal involving D’Angelo Russell, who also becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
“While the Lakers have found (and developed) more shooting and shot-creation alongside James and Davis, they haven’t spawned a star who’s anywhere near Irving’s caliber,” Buckley wrote. “His average outing this season featured 27.1 points, 5.5 assists and 3.1 threes (on 37.9 percent shooting), and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone characterizing the campaign as one of Irving’s best. He is one of the greatest offensive players in this league. Slotting him alongside James and Davis—by way of a sign-and-trade, perhaps featuring D’Angelo Russell—would give L.A. as much star power as any team in this league.”
Irving, who has made over $233 million in his NBA career, averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 60 games with the Nets and Mavericks this season. He won the 2016 championship with James on the Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors in seven epic games. The two stars have patched up their relationship after Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers in 2017.
NBA Exec to Heavy Sports: ‘I Predict That They’ll (Lakers) Try to Figure Out a Way to Pay Kyrie Irving’
An NBA executive told Heavy Sports senior insider Steve Bulpett that he thinks the Lakers will “figure out a way” to pay Irving and “bring him in” this summer.
“So do you stay the course and stick with D-Lo 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,” the exec said.
The Mavericks went only 8-12 with Irving in the lineup and didn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament. Meanwhile, the Lakers are in the Western Conference Finals after starting the season 2-10.