Report: Lakers not interested in pursuing Kyrie Irving this summer

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read

Despite the Los Angeles Lakers’ continuing need to bolster the team’s backcourt, a new report suggests that the team will not attempt to sign veteran guard Kyrie Irving as a free agent.

Tim Cato of The Athletic looked at how Irving’s attendance at the Lakers’ clinching game last Friday raised such speculation before explaining why the Lakers will apparently not choose to pursue him.

“Of course, there’s nothing notable about an out-of-season basketball player attending a basketball game in the city known as this league’s summer home,” Cato said. “And no matter how close Irving might be to [LeBron] James, the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing him in free agency, say league sources, who like all unnamed sources in this article were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. To acquire him would require jettisoning several deadline acquisitions who have helped revitalize their season and land them in a second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.”

Irving sat courtside and watched the Lakers blow out the Memphis Grizzlies, which sent the Lakers to a second-round matchup against the Golden State Warriors. That prominence, along with Irving being warmly greeted by James before the contest, undoubtedly helped get the rumor mill going again.

James and Irving played together with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2017, with the Cavaliers reaching the finals each year. In 2016, they led the Cavaliers to the franchise’s only league title, with Irving hitting the game-winning shot in Game 7 and James being named Finals MVP.

Irving was previously the subject of trade talk with the Lakers before he was dealt in February to the Dallas Mavericks. That acquisition was seen as giving the Mavericks a potential boost to win the NBA title, but the team instead failed to even reach the postseason.

Dismissing the idea of Irving joining the Lakers is nothing new. Back in March, another report indicated that the Lakers are content with the team’s current makeup.

Yet, there remain individuals who believe that James and Irving will reunite at some point. One of those is the duo’s former teammate with the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson.

Besides the comfort level the Lakers front office has with the current team, other factors also work against signing Irving.

For one thing, he turned 31 in March and has had an injury-plagued career. In addition, his annual salary would likely put a dent in the team’s salary cap and the team is still wiping the bad taste from their mouth with respect to the acquisition of Russell Westbrook.

Finally, Irving’s past few years have been marred by a series of controversies. Most notably, his refusal to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, which kept him off the court for an extended period last season.

Of course, the Lakers have no time to look ahead, with the opening game of the team’s series against the Warriors set for Tuesday night.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.