"You couldn't live with your own failures, and where did that lead you? Back to me."
Supervillain Thanos mutters these words to The Avengers in Marvel's latest blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame." But the Mad Titan's message also can be applied to a potential reunion between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving this summer.
After going to three straight NBA Finals against the Warriors with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving demanded a trade to get out of James' shadow in the summer of 2017. He was shipped to the Boston Celtics, where he had a chance to be the leader of a title-contending team. Irving's two-year stint in Boston possibly ended earlier this week when the Milwaukee Bucks bounced the Celtics from the second round of the NBA playoffs in five games.
Irving will be a free agent this offseason, and James' new team, the Lakers, are looking for a superstar to pair with the three-time NBA champion.
The thought of a James-Irving reunion once was a far-fetched idea. But after the Celtics guard admitted he called and apologized to James for the way their time in Cleveland ended, the wheels started to turn.
Now, with Irving and the Celtics on vacation, the potential for James-Irving part deux is becoming more real by the day, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the "Hoop Collective" podcast.
"I would've said that this is impossible for many months," Windhorst said. "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. 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."
The Lakers on Saturday reportedly agreed to hire Frank Vogel as their new coach and Jason Kidd as an assistant, which could bode well for the Lakers' dreams of signing Irving. He has a good relationship with Kidd, so adding him could be the Lakers positioning themselves for a big free-agent score.
Jason Kidd has agreed to join Vogel's Lakers staff in a prominent assistant coaching role, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/ZrQRWfq1US
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 11, 2019
L.A. was supposed to challenge the Warriors for NBA supremacy during Year 1 of the James era. but injuries, poor chemistry and trade rumors derailed their season, leading to the resignation of Magic Johnson and the departure of coach Luke Walton. The Dubs, on the other hand, have battled complacency all season. But after eliminating the Rockets on Friday night, the Warriors now are eight wins away from a third straight NBA title.
Should Irving elect to sign with the Lakers, it could have widespread implications for the Warriors and the NBA as a whole.
For months, rumors have swirled that Irving and Kevin Durant could be looking to join forces this summer, signing with the Knicks in order to bring New York back to prominence. Irving choosing the Lakers over the Knicks could, in theory, start a domino effect that causes Durant to stay with the Warriors.