The Los Angeles Lakers might have missed out on Kyrie Irving ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, with the superstar guard being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, but that doesn’t appear to have halted their interest.
According to ESPN’S Brian Windhorst, LeBron James likely began recruiting Irving at the All-Star game, and there’s a chance both stars have the idea of a reunion floating around in the back of their minds.
“Nobody, and I mean nobody, starts free agency in February like LeBron James, usually at All-Star Weekend…Certainly, the Mavericks have high hopes for what they’re able to accomplish with Kyrie over the next few months. But, he is on the record as saying, ‘don’t even ask me about my future,'” Windhorst said, “And that is because he wants to leave that Lakers’ lane open, and LeBron is very clearly, ready to embrace him…He knows that Kyrie, a player that he has won a championship with, might be as good as he can get. Right now, this is just a flirtation of convenience for both of them, but it is absolutely a peak at what these guys might have planned in the back of their minds.”
Irving’s contract is set to expire at the end of the current season, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and begin negotiating with all interested parties.
Lakers Could Trade Anthony Davis for Kyrie Irving
According to Chris Broussard, who was speaking on a February 20 episode of Fox Sports’ ‘First Things First,’ the Lakers could be willing to swap Anthony Davis with Kyrie Irving this summer if Davis struggles to produce over the next 23 games.
“LeBron James is sending a message to one Anthony Davis…Dallas’ objective this summer is Kyrie for AD sign-and-trade. If AD doesn’t ball in these last 23 games, the Lakers might look at something like that,” Broussard said.
It’s crystal clear that the Lakers season hasn’t gone as planned, with the purple and gold languishing 13th in the Western Conference, having been unable to string together a series of wins all season. Sure, Davis was operating at an MVP level to begin the season, but since returning from injury, he has looked like a shadow of the player who dominated the NBA in the early months of Darvin Ham’s tenure.
LeBron James Is Unhappy With Davis
On a February 15 episode of ‘The Herd,’ Colin Cowherd reported that LeBron is unhappy with Davis due to his inability to remain healthy and inconsistent play, leading the aging superstar to play more minutes than he would like in his age-38 season.
“LeBron wanted to go down about 34 minutes a night. Once again, in Year 20, he’s playing 40 minutes tonight in big games. So, I think this just signals [that] LeBron’s not happy with AD. He’s doing the end-around a little bit. He’s not happy with Darvin Ham not holding him accountable. They’re playing LeBron too many minutes, but if you watched the Lakers pre-trade, they had to play him. It’s the only way they can compete against good teams, is LeBron plays 40 minutes, because you don’t know what you’re getting with AD. So messaging is real, it’s obvious, and I’m not opposed to it,” Herd said.
The Lakers will be hoping that the slew of trade deadline additions to their roster will be able to gel quickly and help their team climb into the playoff picture; otherwise, LeBron’s partnership with Davis could be entering its final few months.