Lakers Rumors: Insiders Feel Kyrie Irving Wants to Go to LA; Everything Else Is Noise

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 27, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 12: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles during the first half of the Eastern Conference 2022 Play-In Tournament against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on April 12, 2022 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are both interested in a reunion next season, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Irving has until Wednesday to exercise his $36.9 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets, but he could try to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"There are sources very close to the situation who strongly believe Irving is trying to make his way to the Lakers here and everything else is just (necessary) noise," Amick wrote. "The sense I get is that James is very open to the idea, but the dynamics are somewhat delicate too."

Irving has requested and received permission to speak to other teams about a potential sign-and-trade, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.

Los Angeles would likely have to trade Russell Westbrook in order to make the money work, which could also create a reunion with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn.

The Nets could also seek other trades around the league if Irving does pick up his option and remains on the roster. Joe Vardon of The Athletic noted the guard has little leverage in the situation and could only control his future if he becomes a free agent and takes a smaller salary.

"If he really wants to play with LeBron again and move to L.A., go for the mid-level," Vardon wrote. "Prove basketball and winning are the main things."

Irving remains an elite player when on the court, averaging 27.4 points per game in 2021-22 while shooting 41.8 percent from three-point range. The seven-time All-Star ranks ninth among active players with a 23.1 career scoring average.

He could give the Lakers a significant boost after the team finished 33-49 last season.

The move would also reunite Irving and James, who won an NBA title together in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reached three NBA Finals.

Even at 37 years old, LeBron remains a force after averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game last year.

With Anthony Davis on the roster, the core could be enough to challenge anyone in the NBA.

Shams Charania of The Athletic previously listed the Lakers as a team interested in Irving this summer, along with the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. If it works within the salary cap, it could be an interesting experiment for the 2022-23 campaign.