Rumors of potential Kyrie Irving destinations have swirled since the Nets star demanded a trade, and the one option that’d create a reunion — the Lakers and former Cavaliers teammate LeBron James — would also provide a boost for Los Angeles.
“Obviously, that’s a — what’s the word you use — ‘duh’ question when you talk about a player like that,” James said following the Lakers’ loss to the Pelicans on Saturday night, according to ESPN.
When asked whether Irving could be the player that increases the Lakers’ chance to win their second NBA title in the last four seasons, James had initially responded by saying that’s a question for general manager Rob Pelinka — “you got to see him when y’all get back to LA,” he told reporters.
“I’ve told y’all a couple weeks [ago], I don’t speak for our front office,” James continued. “My mindset is whatever lineup or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win.”
James and Irving were teammates for three seasons in Cleveland. They paired together from 2014-17, and in 2016, they led the Cavaliers to their first-ever title — storming back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Warriors. But their relationship soured to the point where Irving requested a trade because he told Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert that “he wanted to play in a situation in which he could be more of a focal point and that he no longer wanted to play alongside LeBron James,” according to an ESPN story at the time.
That ultimately prompted a trade between the Celtics and Cavaliers. Irving spent the next two seasons in Boston before joining the Nets as a free agent.
But a strange and controversy-filled tenure in Brooklyn could come to an abrupt end by Thursday. Irving surprised teammates by requesting a trade, as some even found out about the news on Twitter, and he informed the team that he’d depart in the offseason if not moved by the deadline. Irving reportedly wants a long-term extension that teams are hesitant to provide, according to ESPN.
The Lakers, Mavericks, Heat and Suns have all emerged as possible options for Irving, according to The Post’s Brian Lewis, but Dallas is reportedly weighing whether or not Irving and star Luka Doncic — and their respective personalities — would mesh.
Irving missed Brooklyn’s game Saturday with right calf soreness, but the Nets recovered and defeated the Wizards, 125-123, behind career-best performances from Cam Thomas (44 points) and Edmond Sumner (29 points). Irving, 30, has averaged 27.1 points per game this season. Irving is considering sitting out the rest of the season if the Nets don’t trade him, Brian Lewis reported Sunday.
The Lakers currently sit 13th in the Western Conference with a 25-29 record, but they’re only a handful of games out from jumping into a play-in spot for the postseason.