$232 Million Superstar & NBA Champion Predicted to Join Lakers

Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Paul George

Getty Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Paul George

One of the greatest players in NBA history has been predicted to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic believes Kyrie Irving will sign with the Lakers this summer.

“I believe Irving will be a Laker next season,” Vardon wrote. “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.”

The Lakers tried to acquire Irving after the All-Star requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Los Angeles 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.

Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis were privately upset when they heard that Irving landed in Dallas, league sources told Heavy Sports. However, Irving becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, so James and Davis could get Uncle Drew next to them soon.

LeBron James Told ESPN He Was Disappointed the Lakers Didn’t Get Kyrie Irving

James told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on February 6 that he was disappointed the Lakers didn’t get Irving, who is averaging 27.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists this 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 said.

James and Irving played in 183 regular-season games together on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17, compiling a stellar record of 132-51. The two future Hall of Famers went 39-13 in the playoffs and led the Cavaliers to the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors in seven games.

James put up 25.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game alongside Irving, while Irving averaged 22.1 points and 5.3 assists next to James. Even though Irving is excited to play with Luka Doncic in Dallas, the Duke product is still interested in reuniting with James in Los Angeles, sources told Heavy Sports.

NBA GM Is Scared of LeBron James, Anthony Davis & Kyrie Irving

Vardon wrote in his column that a Western Conference general manager was scared the Lakers would get Irving next to James and Davis. That trio would be difficult to stop.

“A Western Conference general manager I spoke with last week had one fear — that the Nets would trade Irving to the Lakers this week, for a trio of LeBron, Irving and Anthony Davis would be unstoppable. The Lakers tried to make that happen but balked at the Nets’ asking price,” Vardon wrote. “I suspect if, given the chance, they wouldn’t balk at Irving’s.”

The Lakers will pursue Irving this offseason once free agency begins, sources told Heavy Sports.

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