Some personnel within the Los Angeles Lakers organization refuse to give up hope on eventually bringing Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving to the West Coast.
Alex Schiffer reported Tuesday on The Athletic NBA Show that some around the Lakers "still really feel like Kyrie Irving is coming to them next year." However, Schiffer conceded that attitude was expressed before general manager Sean Marks confirmed Kevin Durant won't be leaving Brooklyn this offseason.
Durant recommitting to the franchise silenced any lingering questions about Irving in the short term. With the Lakers acquiring Patrick Beverley, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, L.A. seemed to wave the white flag regarding a pursuit of Irving as well.
If the past year has shown us anything, though, it's that the Nets are never too far from their next crisis.
Irving is only signed for one more season after picking up his $36.5 million player option. Schiffer speculated a midseason trade of the seven-time All-Star may not be off the table if the Nets are falling well short of expectations.
Assuming Irving plays out the duration of his contract in Brooklyn, signing him to a new deal next summer may not be a straightforward pursuit. We already saw that situation play out this summer, and next offseason the Nets won't have Irving's player option in their back pocket.
Financially, the Lakers will be in a good position to make a run at the dynamic point guard.
They only have four players under contract for 2023-24: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Damian Jones and Max Christie. James and Davis will combine to make around $87.3 million, which is a sizable chunk of the salary cap, but Spotrac projects L.A. to have $30.3 million in practical cap space.
With James finally starting to show his age and Davis missing 78 games over the past two years, one can argue whether Irving is the right star to target. He has a poor track record with injuries, and his last go-round with James included a title but didn't end well.
By locking James down for at least one more year—he has a $50.4 million player option for 2024-25—the Lakers made it clear they're still trying to chase a championship with the LeBron/AD partnership.
A run at another marquee name feels inevitable next summer, and Irving at least figures to be a realistic option.