Kyrie Irving reportedly eyeing playing for Lakers next season

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James went through one of the most public teammate divorces less than two years ago when Irving requested a trade from James’ Cleveland Cavaliers, but they could be headed for a reunion.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst — one of the foremost LeBron Whisperers — Irving is growing more open to the possibility of signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

"I would’ve said that this is impossible for many months,” Windhorst said on ESPN radio. “But as time passes here and as the possibility exists that Jason Kidd could be hired as the Lakers coach, I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting—that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open," he said. "It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it’s on Kyrie’s radar, it’s on Kyrie’s board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers.”

With the Celtics’ disastrous end to the season, there has been plenty of chatter about Irving leaving in free agency, although most of rumors have him headed to the New York Knicks instead. Rejoining LeBron would be quite the turnaround.

Why did Kyrie leave in the first place?

Irving’s trade request in July 2017 shocked the sports world in part because he and LeBron had just won Cleveland’s first title a year earlier.

There were several factors that led to Irving’s departure, and one of them was that he saw the writing on the wall for James’ departure. Irving didn’t want to get left behind in Cleveland without him, and he found a new contender to play with in Boston.

Irving was also excited for an opportunity to lead a team that was his own, as he always played in James’ shadow in Cleveland. However, he got a taste of teammates not living up to his expectations, which led him call LeBron and apologize for their initial falling out.

Kyrie Irving (left) could reunite with LeBron James (right) on the Lakers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kyrie Irving (left) could reunite with LeBron James (right) on the Lakers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

How would Kyrie fit on the Lakers?

The Lakers have long been looking for a second star to pair with LeBron, and at this point they can’t be too picky about which All-Star they can land. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard seemed destined to land in LA, but neither ended up donning purple and gold.

And now that the organization has found its next head coach — the Lakers officially hired former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Saturday afternoon, signing him to a three-year deal — it will undoubtedly turn its attention to landing at least one big name in free agency.

Irving would be a bona fide star who has already proven he can play well next to James. Furthermore, outside shooting was a major issue for the Lakers — they were 29th in 3-point shooting — and Irving has shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc in each of the last three seasons.

Adding Irving would also free up the Lakers to trade Lonzo Ball for a proven contributor, although at 6-foot-6, Ball has the height to play alongside another point guard. Lakers fans can dream of a LeBron-Kyrie-AD Big Three, but Irving would be a great starting point.

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