Well, we knew it was only a matter of time before Kyrie Irving was linked to the Lakers for the third time in the last calendar year. After the team tried to acquire him in both NBA free agency last summer and at this season’s trade deadline, CBS Sports NBA insider Bill Reiter reports that the Lakers are among the team’s Irving will meet with when the free agent moratorium lifts this afternoon.
Reiter tweeted that in addition to the previously reported Phoenix Suns and incumbent Dallas Mavericks, Irving will also meet with the Lakers, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and LA Clippers. He followed it up with what might be one of the funniest leaks in free agency history, with someone close to Irving calling their camp’s own latest bad leverage play “half baked.”
A source close to Irving, when asked if he would take a pay cut to play in Phoenix, told @CBSSports: "The Phoenix thing was half baked. He's fully exploring free agency and meeting with several other teams." Irving's camp believe there is a robust market for him. https://t.co/CUGwOWzJdJ— Bill Reiter (@sportsreiter) June 30, 2023
No word yet on if Irving is really, really willing to take the mid-level exception from the Lakers — this time he’s super, duper cereal, guys! — but if he’s not willing to “dare to be different to lead us into tomorrow” by taking that cap exception, it’s unlikely the Lakers can get him.
In addition to the cap gymnastics such an acquisition would require, the Mavericks have already indicated they have “no interest” in receiving D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, and the Lakers were also reportedly “disinterested” in even pursuing Irving in May, and thus far have indicated no signs of changing that stance.
Maybe it changed after their Western Conference Finals sweep and they kept their desires quiet, or maybe Kyrie just wants a few free lunches and dinners, but it feels unlikely for a variety of reasons that an Irving acquisition is really on the table for the Lakers. So we can (probably) do Irving a favor and shut down the Lakers talk he reportedly wants to silence that his camp has once again started.
For all the latest on NBA free agency, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers free agency rumors tracker. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.