Just about a week before the new NBA year begins, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at the center of the free agency rumor mill again with a potential LeBron James-Kyrie Irving reunion leading the headlines.
The unraveling of the Brooklyn Nets’ Big 3 appears to continue. In February, Brooklyn parted ways with James Harden, who forced a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers just 13 months after he arrived in New York City.
Now, Irving and the Nets have reportedly reached an impasse in contract negotiations, fueling rumors of his potential move to L.A. NBA insider Marc Stein reports the playmaker has been in touch with James, likely to talk about having another go at a championship together — five years after their time as Cleveland Cavaliers teammates came to an end:
There are credible rumblings in circulation that Irving, for starters, has indeed had some recent contact with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, his former Cleveland teammate, to presumably discuss a potential reunion in Hollywood.
The Nets seem hesitant to offer Irving a max contract extension after he missed nearly two-thirds of the 2021-22 season due to his refusal to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Earlier reports claimed the Lakers are considered “the most significant threat” to lure the guard out of Brooklyn despite their limited resources. L.A. could use the $6 million taxpayer exemption to sign Irving if he decides to hit free agency this summer.
Or, Irving could get the Lakers and the Nets to engineer a trade that would send him to California, which would probably need to involve Russell Westbrook for salary-matching reasons.
Both scenarios are rather unlikely, although the last few years have shown that likelihood is measured differently when Irving is part of the equation.
Lakers believed to keep tabs on Bradley Beal’s situation
Reports claim the Lakers are also watching Bradley Beal’s situation, who is believed to be leaning towards opting out of the final year of his contract with the Washington Wizards.
As Beal’s and Irving’s earnings are nearly identical, L.A.’s only options to acquire the Wizards star are the same as those they have to bring in the Nets guard.
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