Let’s get this out of the way: LeBron James wanted the Lakers to trade for Kyrie Irving last summer. With next Thursday’s NBA trade deadline less than a week away now, it was always fairly safe to assume that his thoughts hadn’t changed a whole lot on that in the intervening months.
But in case you had any doubts that James was ready for a reunion with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, his two-emoji tweet on Friday in the wake of Irving’s latest trade demand left little reason to question where he stands on the possibility of such a deal:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 3, 2023
Shortly after James’ tweet, Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy — as close to Irving as just about anyone in the NBA — replied with an eyes emoji of his own (that he subsequently deleted, but still lives on in screengrab form):
craziest thing I’ve seen in quite some time man. pic.twitter.com/F08Vf8isvR— Thunder Film Room (@ThunderFilmRoom) February 3, 2023
Does any of this mean that a Lakers trade for Irving is imminent? Maybe, maybe not. But these tweets do leave little reason to doubt that there are at least two prominent voices within the franchise that would welcome a reunion with the mercurial guard they both won a championship with in 2016, that could vouch for how good Irving can be in the playoffs when he’s at his best. That’s not necessarily enough to get a deal done, but it certainly is more conducive to the team making a trade than a coach or star player coming out against such a move.
We’ll see if the Lakers can let Handy or James publicly share their excitement about Irving a bit more directly by completing a deal for him before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9. Until then, all we know for sure is that James and Handy will be watching for Wojbombs as intently as the rest of us.