Irving, who won a title with James in the 2015-16 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was a free agent last offseason. However, he was unable to make a reunion with James happen, and he ultimately re-signed with the Mavericks.
“Irving lives in Los Angeles in the offseason, and he had an open calendar after the Dallas Mavericks failed to make the playoffs,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne wrote. “But he was also about to become a free agent, and according to sources close to him, Irving had a strong interest in reuniting with James — the man he’d won an NBA championship with as Cavaliers back in 2016 — either in Los Angeles or Dallas.
“Irving was there, sources close to him say, to send that very message.”
Dallas traded for Irving prior to the trade deadline last season. The team did not see the results it wanted with Irving and Luka Doncic paired together – failing to make the playoffs.
However, the Mavs had interest in bringing Irving back, and the Lakers did not end up making a move to bring in the star guard. Still, the team had interest in adding Irving for quite some time, according to Shelburne.
“For nearly a year, the Lakers had extended internal discussions about whether to pursue Irving via trade or free agency, sources said,” Shelburne wrote. “They’d called the Brooklyn Nets to register interest in trading for him on several occasions since June 2022, when Irving and the Nets couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term extension.”
James and Irving had a ton of success together on the Cavs, but they may not play together again in the NBA.
The Mavs guard is locked into a three-year deal with Dallas (a player option in the third season), while James could opt out of his deal with the Lakers following the 2023-24 season. Still, Dallas may have a hard time bringing James in – if he even wanted to go there – since the team is already paying Irving and Luka Doncic major salaries.
This season, Dallas has seen a lot more success with the Irving-Doncic pairing, getting off to a 24-17 start and sitting in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers, on the other hand, are just 20-21 and hold the No. 10 seed in the West.
Irving may have left James in Cleveland earlier in his career, but it seems like he still has a desire to play with the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
The Lakers and Mavericks will get to face off on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. That game is scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m. PST.