Tristan Thompson won a championship with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. The big man knows how dangerous James and Irving are as a duo, which is why he wants to see the two All-Stars reunite on the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I’ve been pushing that reuniting, coming together for so long,” Thompson said on the March 24 episode of the Draymond Green Show. “With Kyrie and LeBron, it was almost like a match made in heaven. They brought the best out of each other. It was like the things that Kyrie does great is different than what Bron did great. It was just such a beautiful, like it was beautiful to watch the two-man game side pick-and-roll because they’re so dynamic and great at so many different things, but together, it’s like, it’s almost like unstoppable.
“I think Kyrie brings the best out of LeBron and LeBron does the same thing, brings the best out of Kyrie. … It wasn’t finished. It wasn’t finished the way it was supposed to. … It’s not over yet. There’s still a couple more chapters between them two that they can make some magic happen.”
Irving becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. James put up 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game alongside Irving on the Cavaliers, while Irving averaged 22.1 points and 5.3 assists next to James.
The Lakers tried to acquire Irving after the superstar point guard requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Los Angeles GM Rob Pelinka offered Brooklyn a package of Russell Westbrook and two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 for Irving, according to a February 5 report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Nets wound up trading Irving to the Dallas Mavericks.
Are the Lakers Out on Kyrie Irving?
Jovan Buha of The Athletic told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on March 16 that the Lakers won’t pursue Irving this offseason. Buha covers the purple and gold for The Athletic.
“From what I’ve been told, they’re not going to be pursuing Kyrie Irving this offseason,” Buha said. “To my knowledge and to what I’ve been told, the Kyrie ship, I think, has sailed. You never want to say never. That could easily change, but as of right now, their plan is to run this (team) back.”
Buha revealed on Scotto’s podcast that the Lakers want to run it back next season, indicating that the front office likes the current roster around James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles acquired D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba, Davon Reed and Rui Hachimura this season.
“From what I’ve been told by my sources around the organization, they wanted to run this situation (current roster) back,” Buha said. “It’s looked good so far. They’ve won a lot of games. They’ve done a lot of winning without LeBron James. That’s something that’s kind of been under-discussed. The non-LeBron minutes were always an issue for the Lakers going back to his first year in LA and the championship season… This is my third season on the beat, and this is the best chemistry and vibes I’ve seen around the team.”
1 Person Thinks Kyrie Irving Will Be on the Lakers Next Season
Joe Vardon of The Athletic believes Irving will be on the Lakers next season. Vardon covered James and Irving on the Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
“I believe Irving will be a Laker next season,” Vardon wrote on February 9. “How’s that for a juxtaposition? Irving wants a four- or five-year contract, for the maximum money allowed. If he and the Mavericks reach agreement, it could be a five-year, $273 million deal. But Irving said he didn’t want to engage in negotiations now. ‘The business aspect of this is ruthless,’ he said. The Lakers can’t quite get to the four-year, $210 million max deal he would be eligible for outside of Dallas, but they can pay him north of $30 million per year. The teams with the cap space to pay Irving what he wants, outside of Dallas, are the Pistons, Magic, Pacers, Blazers and Spurs. They are all either rebuilding or, in Portland’s case, have a smaller, ball-dominant guard in Damian Lillard. In other words, getting that max deal outside of the Mavericks may not be possible.
“Enter the Lakers. James has made clear he wants to reunite with Irving. As partners in Cleveland, they won the 2016 NBA Finals, reached two others and were an otherwise dominant, unstoppable duo on offense. They have obviously patched up their differences that led to Irving demanding a trade away from LeBron in Cleveland in the summer of 2017. Irving’s apology helped.”
Irving, 31, is averaging 27.1 points and 5.5 assists this season.