Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are back on good terms, leading to a ton of speculation the two could reunite on the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason.
Irving can opt out of his contract with the Boston Celtics and become a free agent, and the Lakers — equipped with salary cap space and intriguing trade assets — figure to be aggressive in trying to pair James with one or more superstars after a disappointing 2018-19 season.
Perhaps the stars are aligned for the former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates to get back together. But ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who recently reported Irving has become “more open” to joining the Lakers, offered some sound advice Thursday on “Pardon The Interruption” for following the point guard’s journey on the open market: Watch Kevin Durant.
“I think his experience away from LeBron James taught him how important it is to be around a player like LeBron. So I think that the door is unlocked (for joining the Lakers),” Windhorst said. “That said, from everything I understand, Kyrie’s relationship with Kevin Durant has never been stronger. And while he’s repaired and reopened his relationship with LeBron, I think if you wanna know where Kyrie’s gonna go, watch Kevin Durant.
“But the Lakers may have a chance to get a meeting, and LeBron may have a chance to make a pitch. And that’s way further along than they were four, five months ago.”
Only the New York Knicks (and the Celtics, of course) have been linked to Irving more than the Lakers, and most of that speculation centers on the idea of him playing alongside Durant in the Big Apple. Durant can opt out of his contract with the Golden State Warriors and become a free agent this offseason, and, as Windhorst mentioned, the two are very good friends. It’s not crazy to think they’ll be in contact throughout the free agency process, maybe with an eye toward joining forces.
Of course, both Irving and Durant would be taking a risk by leaving their current situations. The Celtics are loaded with talent despite an up-and-down season that ended with a second-round playoff elimination, and the Warriors are preparing for their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.