Could Kyrie Irving be rejoining former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers? While most rumors have suggested that the Boston Celtics point guard will be signing with the New York Knicks as a free agent in the 2019 offseason, where he is also expected to team up with erstwhile Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, many league insiders haven’t discounted the possibility of Irving joining another team, the Lakers included. Those insiders include ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said on Monday that Irving will interview with the Lakers if he declines his player option with the Celtics as expected.
According to Bleacher Report, Smith said on his radio show that per his sources, Irving will be granting the Lakers an interview in the summer of 2019, but also made it clear that the 27-year-old point guard is not yet guaranteed to sign with the team.
“I don’t know what he’s gonna do, but during his free-agent tour, I’m told he’ll give the Lakers an interview,” Smith continued, as quoted by ClutchPoints‘ Ryan Ward on Twitter.
During their three years suiting up together for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving made the NBA Finals three times, notably winning the 2016 championship series against the Golden State Warriors after coming back from a 3-1 deficit. This partnership ended in the summer of 2017 when Irving asked to be traded, as he was soon shipped to the Boston Celtics in a deal that sent Isaiah Thomas to the Cavs.
???? Could Kyrie Irving opt to join LeBron and the Lakers?
Stephen A. Smith has heard that Irving will grant the Lakers a free agent interview this offseason. ????
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) April 9, 2019
Although James and Irving had an oftentimes “rocky” relationship as superstar teammates on the Cavs, per Boston.com, reports in January suggested that Irving had made an effort to bury the hatchet with James by calling the four-time MVP to apologize for his behavior during his time in Cleveland.
“Me and Kyrie are in a good place right now. I love the man that he’s becoming, I love the challenges he’s accepted and I always wish the best for him,” James told The Athletic‘s Joe Vardon in February, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
If Kyrie Irving ends up signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, such an addition could significantly increase the team’s chances of contending in the Western Conference and erasing the disappointment of the 2018-19 season, which will see the Lakers miss postseason play for a sixth straight season. However, Bleacher Report suggested that Irving’s potential addition could make former No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball “less important,” given how he plays the same position as Irving does and has dealt with multiple injuries in his first two seasons in the NBA.