LeBron James and Kyrie Irving haven’t played together since the 2017 NBA Finals, but that hasn’t stopped them from plotting a reunion.
James pushed for the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire Irving last offseason and during this season’s trade deadline. A deal didn’t come to fruition, but Irving’s interest in playing with the King still remains. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving has reached out to James about possibly playing together in Dallas. Irving is set to be a free agent, eligible for a five-year $272 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks. He has expressed interest in playing for the Lakers and with James. Irving even showed up to at least two Lakers playoff games at Crypto.Com Arena, sitting courtside.
James still has one year left on his deal with the Lakers and a player option for the 2024-25 season. He hinted at possible retirement after the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. However, multiple reports indicate that he will be back in Los Angeles for next season.
Irving and James had initial discussions about teaming up in Los Angeles when Irving was a free agent last offseason, according to Charania. Irving opted into the final year of his deal with the Brooklyn Nets before being traded to the Mavericks in February.
James’ desire seems to be that he remains in Los Angeles. However, the biggest roadblock to a trade would be the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement. It is difficult to have three max contract players on one team under the new CBA, which includes a hard cap with strict penalties for going into the luxury tax.
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