A year ago, no one thought Kyrie Irving would ever consider playing again with LeBron James on the same team. When he demanded a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving reportedly wanted to move out of the shadow of James and lead his own team. However, a potential reunion between Irving and James suddenly became a possibility when the All-Star point guard reached out to the Lakers superstar and apologized for the wrong things he had done during their time in Cleveland.
When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, Kyrie Irving is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. Before the start of the season, Irving expressed his desire to re-sign with the Celtics, but he recently had a change of heart and said that he wants to keep his options open next summer. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, Irving “could conceivably sign” with the Lakers in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“Irving carries the most leverage, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Does he still want the spotlight of running his own team, or has the weight of this season made him want to join a top-level player as a sidekick yet again? Irving could conceivably sign with the Lakers and reunite with James, a partnership it’s clear he abandoned all too early.”
If Kyrie Irving opens his door for other interested teams next July, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka shouldn’t think twice before offering him a max contract. Irving will give the Lakers a very reliable scoring option and a point guard who knows how to maximize LeBron James’ effectiveness on the court. This season, the 26-year-old superstar is averaging 23.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.5 steals on 49.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The successful acquisition of Kyrie Irving in free agency will also strengthen the Lakers’ chance of acquiring Anthony Davis via trade next summer. When the New Orleans Pelicans decided not to trade Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, the Celtics emerged as his top favorite landing spot for the All-Star center in the 2019 NBA offseason. Having Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and a plethora of future first-round picks, the Celtics are the only team in the league who can beat the Lakers when it comes to trade assets. However, if they fail to re-sign Irving, it is highly unlikely that Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge will still consider emptying his treasure chest to bring Davis to Boston.