If you watched any coverage of the 2023 NBA All-Star weekend, or spent some time on the Internet seeing what the national media partners that cover the league have to say, you were undoubtedly bombarded with takes and theories that newly acquired Maverick guard Kyrie Irving is already being recruited to join the Lakers and LeBron James this summer when Irving becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s not hard to read between the lines, especially when LeBron is picking Irving on his All-Star team and offering some rather effusive praise of Irving during James’ All-Star media session.
“It’s always great to team back up with Kyrie,” James told reporters. “You know how I feel about him both on the court and off the court. It’s always good to see him.
”I’m very proud of him. Very proud [of] the man that he has become in his life right now. So All-Star Weekend is always great to get an opportunity to be around the guys that you watch play, that you admire play, that you compete against, but that you just love the way they play the game of basketball.”
Grant Afseth from DallasBasketball.com has a full roundup of what various media members and former players are saying about the potential of Irving leaving for the Lakers this summer. Tuesday morning, ESPN.com published its Hoop Collective column, where the three members of the Hoop Collective podcast (Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps, Tim MacMahon), write about various topical stories currently going on in the NBA. This week, Bontemps decided to write about how All-Star weekend felt like the beginning of LeBron’s recruitment of Kyrie.
Despite the events that took place a few months ago with Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, let’s focus on this message: James would love to play with Irving once again. It also had to leave Mavs owner Mark Cuban with at least some amount of concern about what might happen this summer.
Yes, a Lakers team with James, Anthony Davis and Irving accompanied by a roster of minimum-salaried players is likely not going to be deep enough to withstand having three stars in their 30s, each with a history of injury issues. What’s undeniable, however, is that it would give Los Angeles a far different ceiling than it has had recently.
You can read more at ESPN.com. Regardless of the Lakers cap situation (it will require a sign-and-trade for them to acquire Kyrie), players of Kyrie’s caliber can have major influence on where they want to go. If Kyrie decides he wants to go to the Lakers, no amount of cap rationale will stop him, as we’ve seen with previous mega free agency moves.
This is going to be a long six months for Mavericks fans. The team is just coming off losing Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks last summer, if Kyrie were to bolt, even if the Mavericks got some compensation back through a sign-and-trade, that’d be a big blow to the Mavericks team building plans. This story, unfortunately, won’t go away until Kyrie signs a contract with the Dallas Mavericks.