Lakers Star LeBron James Intrigued by Mavericks Amid Rumors

LeBron James

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball as Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks defends.

Kyrie Irving is pushing to get Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to the Dallas Mavericks — a move that could potentially intrigue the four-time MVP, although it remains highly unlikely.

Rumors have been swirling about a potential reunion between Irving and James this offseason but with the Lakers being their assumed destination for a team-up. However, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported on June 5 that Irving is plotting a new “Big 3” with him and James combining forces with Luka Doncic in Dallas.

To be clear — the possibility of James landing in Dallas is highly unlikely. James has two years left on his deal with the Lakers — the final a player option — and the Mavericks lack the salary cap flexibility or trade assets to make it happen.

That being said, the Mavericks are a team James is intrigued by, per veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein.

“What can be bankably confirmed about any LeBron connection to the Mavericks: Dallas is certainly a team, league sources say, that would intrigue the 38-year-old as a potential landing spot if James ever reached the point of searching for a new place to play,” Stein said. “James is a well-known admirer of Doncic — and vice versa — and maintains close relationships with Mavericks coach Jason Kidd and assistant coach Jared Dudley after their championship run together in the Walt Disney World bubble in Orlando to cap the 2019-20 season.”

The “if” in this situation is a big one. As Stein pointed out, any situation that lands James in Dallas would take him forcing his way out of Los Angeles. And with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, James and Irving would likely have to take significant pay cuts to play alongside Doncic.

Kyrie Irving Has Mended Relationship With LeBron James

Irving and James’ first go-around as teammates ended on a sour note. The duo won a title together in 2016 as members of the Cleveland Cavaliers but Irving forced his way out of town shortly after. Irving says he regrets how things ended with the Cavaliers and his relationship with James.

“If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am, and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships, because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding about what I’m going through,” Irving said on the I Am Athlete podcast in 2022. “I didn’t know how to share my emotions. I didn’t know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself.”

James has also shared his admiration for Irving and expressed his disappointment when the Lakers were unable to trade for him last season.

“I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent, but [also] someone that I had great chemistry with, and know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes,” James told ESPN.

LeBron James Still Weighing Retirement

James is still weighing his future as a whole in the NBA. He expressed shortly after the Lakers were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets that he is considering retirement.

“I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest,” James said. “Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”

The expectation is that James will return for a 21st season in the NBA, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone who thinks [James] is retiring,” Woike reported on June 1. “The biggest reasons given to me for his comments after Game 4: fatigue from the season, frustration with getting swept and a reminder to the front office that the Lakers’ title window is closing, keeping a sense of urgency in the foreground.”

It also appears very unlikely that Irving — who is an unrestricted free agent — ends up in Los Angeles. LA is prioritizing re-signing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura and keeping their core together.

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