A$230 million superstar and future Hall of Famer has been predicted not to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving has been heavily linked to the Lakers since he played with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17. However, several NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe “Irving and the Nets will continue their partnership together beyond this season — a notion that seemed improbable to many around the league amid Irving’s suspension and Brooklyn’s listless start to the season,” Scotto wrote.
“I think Kyrie ends up with a short extension with the Nets,” one executive told Scotto. “A sign-and-trade for Kyrie this summer would be tough given the length needed and assets to make it happen from another team. I think there’s an incentive for an extension on a one-plus-one or two-year deal. If I’m Brooklyn, I’m not going past two years. I don’t know if Kyrie would accept that. The Lakers will go into the summer with cap space and can offer two years, $60 million, where he could rejoin LeBron James and play with Anthony Davis.”
Irving is in the final year of his contract. The All-Star point guard, who signed a four-year, $136.5 million deal with the Nets in July 2019, will have made more than $230 million in his career when free agency starts this offseason. Irving has played for the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Nets. He has career averages of 23.2 points and 5.7 assists.
1 NBA Insider Thinks Kyrie Irving Will Sign With the Lakers
In a December 31 column called “36 Bold Predictions for the Next Year in Sports,” Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated predicted that Irving would join the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Although the Nets are playing excellent basketball right now, the franchise could be content with letting Irving leave in the offseason due to his controversial history. The one-time champion never took the COVID-19 vaccine and tweeted a link to an antisemitic video in 2022.
“The Nets seem content to finish this season with their current core, including the perpetual distraction in the No. 11 jersey. But this is now an all-or-nothing campaign. Unless the Nets win it all, it’s hard to see them re-signing Irving next summer,” Beck wrote. “It’s also hard to see much of a market for him, given his recent history. We do know LeBron James would welcome a reunion, though.”
Irving has appeared in 32 games this season for the Nets, who are 27-16. The Duke product is averaging 25.6 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 48.0% from the field, 35.6% from beyond the arc and 90.2% from the free-throw line. The Nets are 20-12 with Irving in the lineup.
LeBron James Would Love to Play With Kyrie Irving Again
James would “love” to play with Irving again, league sources told Heavy Sports. Irving and James played in 183 regular-season games together on the Cavaliers, compiling a stellar record of 132-51. The two stars went 39-13 in the postseason and led the Cavaliers to the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors in seven compelling games. Cleveland became the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals.
The Lakers tried to acquire Irving in July 2022, with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reporting that Los Angeles and Brooklyn were actively engaged in discussions on a trade package that would have sent Russell Westbrook to the Nets and Irving to the Lakers. However, the trade never went through.