After reportedly trading Isaac Bonga, Moe Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and a 2022 second-round pick to the Washington Wizards, the Los Angeles Lakers now have $32 million in cap space, enough to sign a max contract free-agent.
With that available cap space now, the Lakers have set their sights on free agent point guard Kyrie Irving and are reportedly “swinging for the fences” to land his services.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported on Thursday that Irving is “as much a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard.”
Kyrie Irving remains as much a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard, league sources say, now that the Lakers are sure they can open maximum cap space. They are swinging for the fences despite all of the signals that have pointed Irving to Brooklyn ...
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2019
While the Lakers are hoping to reunite Irving with former teammate LeBron James, all signs point to Irving inking a similar max contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving linked to Brooklyn Nets
Earlier in the month, Irving opted out of his contract with the Boston Celtics to become a free agent. Immediately, it was reported that Irving would sign with the Nets when free agency commences on June 30.
Irving has been communicative and forthright with top Celtics officials since the season ended, with private and public signals that he will leave the organization in free agency — likely for the Brooklyn Nets, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. https://t.co/EupfcYxhsg
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 18, 2019
Adding to the speculation was another report by Stein indicating that Irving had made Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports his new representatives. The connection between Roc Nation, Jay-Z and the Nets has been well documented in the past.
Lakers are in need of a point guard
In order to land Anthony Davis, the Lakers will send Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram along with a bevy of first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Without the presence of Ball and with Rajon Rondo becoming a free agent, the Lakers are in dire need of a point guard. Given the available max contract space, it makes sense that the Lakers would want to target Irving, who has played with and won an NBA Finals alongside James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, it should be noted that the Lakers are exploring multiple options at guard. Immediately after trading for Davis, the team became linked to soon-to-be free-agent Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker will be a top target in free agency for the Lakers after they reached an agreement in principle to trade for Anthony Davis, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 15, 2019
Since then, Walker has been linked to the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, with the Celtics being the frontrunners to land the 28-year-old.
All-Star Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets have sizable gaps and stalemate in talks so far, opening pathway for competitors in Boston, New York and Dallas, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 27, 2019
As you can see, the picture is currently very messy when it comes to superstar free agents. With free agency beginning on June 30, the landscape of the NBA will no doubt become more clear.
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