On Monday afternoon, Shams Charania Kyrie Irving has reached out to LeBron James to see if the Lakers' star would be interested in joining him on the Dallas Mavericks. For myriad reasons, . For starters, Dallas, with just two future picks eligible for trade and no young talent to speak of, can't put together any kind of trade package that would suffice in a deal for James, who still has one more season plus a 2024-25 player option on his deal with the Lakers.that
There's some thought that this is a leverage play to get Irving to the Lakers, who might potentially feel the pressure of LeBron wanting to reunite with Irving. But that feels unlikely, as well. The Lakers can only come up with about $34 million in cap space, and that's only if they dump pretty much everyone besides James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves.
Irving is eligible for about $46M in the first year of a new deal. If would therefore require a massive discount on Irving's part, and even if he would do that, the Lakers would have to be cool with decimating their depth. Don't rule anything out in the NBA. But don't bet on any of this happening.
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So what is the more likely scenario? LeBron staying in L.A., and Irving staying in Dallas. After Charania's report surfaced, Marc Stein suggested that Irving could be trying to sell himself to Dallas as a recruiter in hopes of securing as close to a max deal as possible. Either way, Stein reported that both the Mavericks and Irving desire an agreement to keep the eight-time All-Star in Dallas.
Sources say that Dallas has not wavered from its hope and intent to re-sign Irving in free agency and pursue further potential win-now roster upgrades via trade packages built around the 10th overall pick in the June 22 draft.
Yet two sources close to the process insisted Monday that Irving has consistently expressed a desire to remain a Maverick and actually wants to shut down the notion that he's angling to get to L.A.
"He wants to stay," said one source.
The part about Dallas looking to trade the 10th pick in the upcoming draft is noteworthy. Dallas is pretty desperate to put a contender together before Luka Doncic starts getting the itch to leave ,which is why Dallas made the midseason trade for Irving in the first place.
Chances are, this is the path Dallas ends up taking. Re-sign Irving, build a trade package around the 10th pick and try to go title-hunting in what is obviously a very equitable championship landscape next season.