Kyrie Irving signing a three-year contract to stay with the Dallas Mavericks apparently has done nothing to stop ESPN insider Brian Windhorst from believing that LeBron James still wants to play with his former teammate.
“I will say this. I do think LeBron has an interest in playing with Kyrie Irving again,” Windhorst said during an episode of his podcast. “I think he likes the idea of playing with Kyrie, the concept of playing with Kyrie and Anthony Davis. I have long said the best big-man pairing that LeBron’s ever had, as far as pure fit, is Anthony Davis. I believe the best guard pairing LeBron’s ever had is Kyrie Irving.”
Some of the latest rumors about a James-Irving reunion arose after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2022-23 season ended. Reports of communication between the two only enhanced the idea that the former Cleveland Cavaliers championship teammates would somehow be together again.
Irving reportedly met with the Lakers, among several other teams, earlier this offseason before the free agent agreed to re-sign with Dallas on a deal worth $126 million. The 31-year-old reportedly worked hard to earn the trust of Luka Doncic last season, who apparently pushed for the Mavericks to keep Irving after the pairing failed to produce the desired results the first time around.
James, in addition to pondering a reunion with Irving, reportedly considered retirement this offseason before announcing his intention to return for a 21st NBA season at the ESPY Awards this week.
James has added one NBA championship to his trophy case, but has yet to win another since they parted when Irving was traded by the Cavs to the Boston Celtics after the 2016-17 season. Cleveland had just played in its third of four straight NBA Finals, a run that included its 2016 title victory.
Without Irving, James played one more season in Cleveland and reached the 2018 NBA Finals, only to be swept by the Golden State Warriors. He won his fourth NBA title with the Lakers in 2020 and was nearing a chance at a fifth before they were swept by the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.
Irving hasn’t even gotten as far as a conference finals and has won just two playoff series without James as a teammate. His recent seasons have primarily been noteworthy more so for off-the-court issues and disappointing results.
The Lakers, by all accounts, have had a very successful offseason and are positioned to contend for a championship again. But perhaps James truly believes a reunion with Irving is the only way to nab that elusive fifth ring before actually committing to retirement for good.