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NBA Rumors: Lakers expected to pursue Kyrie Irving in free agency

On Monday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic lit up some fireworks to kick off NBA Draft week: According to his sources, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are currently at “an impasse… that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace” and that the Lakers are among the teams who will try to get a deal done for him.

The latest, from Charania’s report:

The Lakers, Knicks and Clippers are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, multiple sources tell The Athletic.

For the Lakers, the likely path to acquire Irving — and reunite him with LeBron James — would be Irving opting in to facilitate a trade, because the Lakers cannot realistically clear cap space to sign him themselves, and a sign-and-trade would trigger the hard cap, thus making acquiring Irving significantly more difficult. If Irving would opt in, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would have to satisfy the collective bargaining agreement’s salary-matching rules, meaning if Irving’s $36.6 million was the only incoming salary, the Lakers could send anywhere from $29.3 million to $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team in a legal transaction.

Nets Daily, our sister site that covers Brooklyn for SB Nation, also mentioned in their own writeup that this follows a recent trend in the whispers about Irving’s free agency:

The report could also be an attempt by one side or the other to signal that it is now crunchtime to get things done between the Nets and Irving. That seems at this point unlikely. Charania’s report follows one by Jake Fischer last week in an online chat with Eddie Gonzalez of Boardroom.

“I’ve been working on the assumption that all three — Kevin, Kyrie, Ben Simmons — will be there for the start of training camp. However, there’s a lot of talk about Kyrie,” he told Gonzalez. “Definitely some talk about whether they are going to figure out a long term relationship.”

This breaking news story will update with more information and analysis, but in the meantime: What do you think about this possibility? Let us know in the comments below.

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