Windhorst: ‘Kyrie [Irving] is ready to come to the Lakers’
With the Los Angeles Lakers trailing the Denver Nuggets 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals, the post-mortems have already begun.
Critics are saying the Lakers are in this situation because they lack shooting, size in the frontcourt, a reliable backup center or two or a combination thereof.
Another culprit has been the poor play of guard D’Angelo Russell, who performed well in the regular season after arriving in February’s Russell Westbrook trade but has been up and down in the playoffs. So far in the Denver series, he is shooting a combined 8-of-27 from the field and 2-of-14 from 3-point range, and he hasn’t scored more than 10 points in any of the three games played.
It has left some Lakers fans pining (once again) for perennial All-Star Kyrie Irving, and according to Brian Windhorst, Irving is “ready to come to the Lakers.”
In fact, the journalist says L.A. can acquire Irving in a sign-and-trade this summer while still keeping Austin Reaves, who will be a restricted free agent.
REPORT: The Lakers can get Kyrie and retain Austin Reaves this summer, via @WindhorstESPN.
“The way this series is ending the more likely it becomes… Kyrie is ready to come to the Lakers.” pic.twitter.com/nFCfCjWm8J
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 21, 2023
In all likelihood, getting Irving would mean gutting the team to a certain extent, and one would have to expect that Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Irving’s current team, would also demand substantial draft capital.
Then there is the matter of Irving’s enigmatic personality and off-the-court antics, which have led many to accuse him of being a team killer.
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report says not so fast
Although the Mavs, who were expected to become a dark horse contender after trading for Irving, saw their season end in disaster, they still have to value him immensely.
Perhaps no other team (other than perhaps the Lakers) sees Irving as a valuable commodity who deserves a max contract, but the Mavs apparently have no choice but to give him that type of contract.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus quoted a source who said that there’s already some sort of agreement between both parties.
As a catchall, there's a TON of "Can Lakers/Kyrie etc." and while sure, technically, pathways exist —> from what I can tell he's going back to Dallas: https://t.co/5WJHP8mm8Z
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) May 21, 2023
Via Bleacher Report:
“I hear they had a handshake deal before the trade [with the Brooklyn Nets],” one source said. “And Kyrie wouldn’t have said yes to anything less than the max.”
Given the nature of the rumor mill that always surrounds the Lakers, and the fact that LeBron James won a championship with Irving and is still friends with him, the speculation and longing for the team to land the New Jersey native will not die until he signs a long-term extension this summer.