“Sources with knowledge of the situation have increasingly believed Kyrie Irving’s willingness to opt out of Brooklyn, sign the $6M taxpayer midlevel with the Lakers, where Irving can re-sign long-term in 2023,” Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported.
The 30-year-old Irving presently has a player option worth nearly $37 million for the 2022-23 season, so a pay cut of that nature would be steep for the veteran guard.
Irving’s discussions with the Nets on a contract extension have thus far floundered. That’s led the team to reportedly allow his representatives to pursue a sign-and-trade deal.
Since the Lakers’ potential trade packages apparently don’t excite the Nets, L.A.’s only avenue to acquiring Irving may depend on him opting out of his deal.
The Lakers appear intent on wiping away the frustration of a losing 2021-22 season in which they failed to reach the postseason, an experience they don’t want to go through again.
If healthy, the Lakers could make a deep playoff run this season, especially if they’re able to add a player of Irving’s talent.
Irving has a past history with LeBron James, with the pair helping lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA title.
However, Irving also has a lengthy injury history and would be 31 years old when any contract extension would begin.
Making such a large investment in a player like Irving comes with some definite risk. He’s only played in 103 regular season games for the Nets during his three seasons with the team.
Still, the Lakers may be willing to roll the dice on this particular strategy regardless of the potential financial dangers involved. For the team, the potential benefits seem to outweigh the possible pitfalls.