Five NBA seasons have passed since Kyrie Irving and LeBron James wore the same uniform in Cleveland. According to recent reports, there’s a chance the former championship duo could reunite this offseason.
Irving and the Nets have reached “an impasse” regarding the NBA All-Star’s future in Brooklyn, per a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. If contract negotiations have halted, Irving could test the free agency market ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.
Among the teams reportedly interested in Irving? The Los Angeles Lakers.
Considering how poorly the Lakers finished the season (33-49 and missing the playoffs), the organization would be wise to consider all its options in free agency. Plus, James and Irving do have a championship chemistry. The two led the Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016, defeating the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series.
Other teams reportedly interested in the seven-time NBA All-Star are the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.
Irving has played sparingly during his three seasons in Brooklyn. Injuries and his much-publicized vaccination status resulted in the 11-year NBA veteran missing significant time. With the Nets, he’s appeared in only 103 regular season games.
Brooklyn is searching for a championship formula after the experiment with Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden fell short of expectations. The trio played in just 16 games together before the Nets sent Harden to Philadelphia in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond a pair of first-round picks.
The Boston Celtics swept the Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
Did Kyrie Have a Change of Heart?
The recent report from The Athletic contradicts Kyrie Irving’s comments from earlier this year. Hit the rewind button and go back to April, following Brooklyn’s elimination from the playoffs. Despite the disappointing finish, the star guard said he didn’t expect to leave the organization.
“In terms of my extension, I don’t really plan on going anywhere,” Irving said, per Sportsnaut. “Like I said, this is added motivation for our franchise to be at the top of the league for the next few years. Just looking forward to the summer and just building with our guys here.”
Irving has produced at an All-Star level when he’s been on the floor for Brooklyn. He’s averaging 27.1 points, six rebounds and 4.7 rebounds per game in his three years with the Nets. When he’s healthy, Irving can play a key role on a championship contender.
Maybe Irving’s heart is still in Brooklyn. Or perhaps he’s opening his options with the Clippers, Knicks and Lakers all potentially interested.
Kyrie’s Championship Chemistry With LeBron
There’s a good reason LeBron James would have interest in bringing Kyrie Irving to Los Angeles. After all, the duo led Cleveland to three NBA Finals (2015-17), winning the championship in 2016 by overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to Golden State.
During that three-year run, Irving averaged 22.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game in the regular season.
Both Brooklyn and Los Angeles fell short of expectations this past season. The Nets were a heavy favorite to reach the NBA Finals when the year tipped off in October. The Lakers should’ve been a contender in the Western Conference with James teaming up with Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis.
While Irving vowed to return to Brooklyn, the growing interest from other organizations might be too difficult to ignore. And if there’s serious interest from the Lakers, it’ll provide the All-Star guard with a chance to rejoin with James and pursue another NBA championship.