Matt Barnes: Kyrie Irving 'Definitely' Makes Lakers a Title Contender If 'Committed'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 26, 2022

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 25: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets smiles during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving could "definitely" make the Los Angeles Lakers a title contender, as former player Matt Barnes told TMZ Sports:

Barnes said the Lakers could win it all "if they can learn to co-exist," but noted Irving is a mystery.

"Kyrie is probably a top-five talent in the world, but you never know what you're going to get," Barnes said. "So, if Kyrie is committed to playing whether he plays in Brooklyn or the Lakers, he definitely makes them a title contender."

Irving played just 29 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season, missing most of the year due to his vaccination status amid New York City's COVID-19 guidelines. He now has a chance to leave in free agency if he declines his $36.9 million player option by Wednesday's deadline, with Shams Charania of The Athletic listing the Lakers among the potential suitors if he becomes available.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also noted Irving has interest in Los Angeles and he could land there through a sign-and-trade.

This move would pair together Kyrie and LeBron James, who won a title together with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

Barnes faced this duo in the 2017 NBA Finals, helping the Golden State Warriors beat the Cavaliers in five games. It was the final NBA action in Barnes' 14-year career, which also featured two seasons with the Lakers in 2011 and '12.