"From what I'm told, it's not going to happen. I got a text message from folks close to Kyrie's family, within the hour, as we were teasing this subject. Quote: 'There is no way in Hell he's going to LA. I don't give a damn what anybody says, knock that down for us right now please. He ain't going to LA.' That's what they say," Stephen A. Smith relayed Monday on First Take.
"From everything that I've been hearing over the last few days, Kyrie Irving is heading to New York City. Kyrie Irving is heading to Madison Square Garden with Kevin Durant. People in his inner circle are trying to bring the Nets into the mix, but clearly New York is the destination."
ESPN's Brian Windhorst previously said it's become a possibility that James and Irving team up with the Lakers.
"I would've said that this is impossible for many months," Windhorst said on ESPN radio. "But as time passes here and, as the possibility exists that Jason Kidd could be hired as the Lakers coach, I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting—that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open," he said. "It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it's on Kyrie’s radar, it's on Kyrie's board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers."
While the fracture between James and Irving appears to have healed, it was always a little farfetched to think Irving would sign in Los Angeles. That would essentially be a full mea culpa for his trade request from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a full admission that he was wrong to get out of James' shadow.
Irving's a self-reflecting sort, but that move would take a massive swallowing of pride whereas teaming with Kevin Durant wouldn't affect the ego and makes a ton of sense. The two are close friends off the court, have a major market waiting with open arms and could add a third star via trade this summer. The Knicks are in a position to theoretically sign Durant and Irving, then trade for another All-Star like Anthony Davis or Bradley Beal.
The Lakers would probably be better served focusing their attention on Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler, who are all more viable options. Leonard, in particular, would be a major coup, especially after his ascent to basketball royalty in Toronto this season.
Irving and James are probably better off being the couple that remains friendly after the divorce than the one that walks down the aisle for a second time.