The thought of Kyrie Irving joining LeBron James in Los Angeles to play with the Lakers in the 2019-20 season and beyond seemed preposterous just a few months ago
Start off with the reason that Irving wanted out of Cleveland nearly two years ago was to earn his own legacy and get out of James's immense shadow.
Irving has had two less-than-stellar seasons with the Boston Celtics. Injuries prevented him from asserting himself in the 2018 playoffs, and the Celtics came up short in this year's postseason as they were swept in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 27-year-old can opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, and while the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets would appear to be likely destinations, the star guard has not ruled out playing with James in Los Angeles. He also could return to the Celtics
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst reported (1:12 mark) that an Irving-James reunion is something that cannot be ruled out. It may not be probable or likely, but there is a chance the two players can restore their partnership.
"If you had asked me six months ago, I would have had said the door was closed and locked, that was not gonna happen," Windhorst said. "But over the last few months, there has no doubt been a thawing between Kyrie and LeBron and Kyrie has become to be more open to joining the Lakers and has done some research on the organization."
In addition to that report, Windhorst went on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption program and reported that James has been recruiting both Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers and Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors.
While teams can be accused of tampering, individual players cannot be accused of tampering. Still, the idea of star players joining the Lakers after Magic Johnson quit his position as team president and then went on the offensive, per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, when explaining his decision to leave the team is likely to make the recruiting process more complex.
Magic exposed his disagreements with the Lakers' structure, issues with general manager Rob Pelinka and his belief that Luke Walton needed to be fired during the season.
In addition to the Knicks, Nets and Celtics, the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks are also potential landing spots for Irving, per Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com.
The Irving possibilities are endless at this point, and while the Lakers can't be considered favorites, they are in the battle.
Bickerstaff turned down chance to join Lakers
J.B. Bickerstaff recently joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as an associate head coach. Prior to taking the position, Bickerstaff reportedly talked to the Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
That means Bickerstaff's decision not to join the Lakers, new head coach Frank Vogel and assistant head coach Jason Kidd is just one more deficiency the Lakers have had at this point in the offseason.
While teams like the Sixers and Celtics are further ahead on the NBA ladder than the Lakers, Bickerstaff chose to join LeBron's old team and new head coach John Beilein.
The Cavs had one of the three worst records in the league, yet Cleveland is apparently a more attractive situation than Los Angeles for the much sought-after associate head coach.