$233 Million Superstar Named ‘Realistic Trade Target’ for Lakers

Trae Young guards Kyrie Irving

Getty Trae Young guards Kyrie Irving

One of the best players in NBA history has been named a “realistic trade target” for the Los Angeles Lakers.

In a May 4 article titled “Lakers’ Most Realistic Trade Targets in 2023 Offseason,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report called Kyrie Irving a trade target the Lakers can “realistically afford.” The Dallas Mavericks guard becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and 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.”

Since Irving played with LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17, the eight-time All-Star has been heavily linked to the Lakers. Los Angeles tried to acquire Irving from the Brooklyn Nets after the Duke product requested a trade, but the Mavericks swooped in 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.”

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 playoffs and facing the Golden State Warriors in the semifinals. Russell has been a good fit next to James and Anthony Davis and it appears the purple and gold have moved on from Irving.

The Lakers Are Disinterested in Pursuing Kyrie Irving

Tim Cato of The Athletic reported on May 1 that the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing Irving this summer. Irving has made over $233 million in his career with the Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Nets and Mavericks.

“Of course, there’s nothing notable about an out-of-season basketball player attending a basketball game in the city known as this league’s summer home,” Cato wrote. “And no matter how close Irving might be to James, the Lakers are uninterested in pursuing him in free agency, say league sources, who like all unnamed sources in this article were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. To acquire him would require jettisoning several deadline acquisitions who have helped revitalize their season and land them in a second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.”

Irving 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 Warriors in seven games.

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 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 (D’Angelo Russell) 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.

James and Irving were lethal together on the Cavaliers. LeBron put up 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game alongside “Uncle Drew,” while Irving averaged 22.1 points and 5.3 assists next to “The King.”