Two years ago, when the Los Angeles Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and the gargantuan contract of Timofey Mozgov, they made a commitment to their master plan of signing two All-Star free agents. They landed their first superstar in LeBron James last summer, and they’ll be chasing their second one this July in a star-studded free agency class.
Among the names that are expected to be available this summer is Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving. Irving has long admired Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and spent two years with James in Cleveland. The latter wouldn’t have been a selling point for the Lakers a few months ago, but the two have made up since then, leaving the door open for a reunion in Los Angeles this summer.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, that’s something James has already begun working towards (h/t Chris Montano of Def Pen Hoops):
“Six months ago I would have told you that the concept of Kyrie to the Lakers would have gotten me to hang up the phone on you. Now, from what I understand, the door is at least open. I wouldn’t say he’s stomping through it, I wouldn’t say that it’s likely, I wouldn’t say that I think that’s going to be a thing we’re going to see. I still think New York and Brooklyn are higher on his list, but I think Kyrie is considering the Lakers. He’s had some conversations with some people and I know he’s in touch with LeBron, and LeBron’s going to make a run to recruit him.”
This isn't the first we've heard of Irving considering the Lakers, and it seems like tha possibility is only heating up if James is in on the chase now. The Lakers can offer Irving a max contract starting at $32.5 million this summer, but they’ll face some stiff competition from the New York Knicks, who have been linked to both Irving and Kevin Durant all season, and the Celtics, who are expected to make a run for Anthony Davis this summer.
Would Irving pass on an opportunity to spend four years alongside Durant or Davis to try and repeat history with James in L.A.? Only time will tell, but it seems like James is willing to do everything in his power to persuade him to.