There reportedly isn’t an “overwhelming” sentiment from the Los Angeles Lakers that they want guard Kyrie Irving this offseason.
According to one NBA general manager who spoke to Heavy Sports, the push for Irving is coming from four-time champion LeBron James.
“I would not like the message very much if I were on the Lakers or if I were in the front office,” the general manager said in regard to Irving attending two Lakers games in the playoffs. “There’s not an overwhelming sentiment from them like, ‘We gotta go get Kyrie.’ It’s just LeBron.”
However, the Lakers don’t appear to be all in on bringing Irving to Los Angeles in the offseason.
After being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2022-23 season, Irving played well, averaging 27.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game across 20 games for Dallas.
This offseason, Irving is set to become an unrestricted free agent, meaning he’s free to sign with any team, provided that it has the cap space to facilitate a deal.
That’s where things get tricky for the Lakers. The team would likely need to orchestrate a sign-and-trade deal with Dallas in order to bring Irving in, and it would probably have to move multiple rotation pieces from the 2022-23 season’s team to do so.
While keeping James happy is important, the Lakers did see their team struggle after trading multiple assets for Russell Westbrook a few offseasons ago. The team doesn’t want to make the same mistake with Irving.
An eight-time All-Star, Irving would be a better fit than Westbrook because of his shooting ability and experience playing with James. However, unless the Lakers are content with moving off of pieces such as D’Angelo Russell, the team may not want to pursue a deal for a third star like Irving.
Ultimately, with James contemplating retirement this offseason, the Lakers are going to be faced with a tough decision on what to do with the roster for the 2023-24 season. Russell is set to become an unrestricted free agent while Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are both set to become restricted free agents.
It’s been reported that the Lakers’ offseason preference is to retain Reaves and Hachimura.
It’ll be interesting to see if Irving becomes a part of the team’s offseason plans. Right now, it appears that James is the biggest voice pushing for that.