Stephen A. Smith believes the New York Knicks, more than any other team, need to sign Kyrie Irving this offseason. Max Kellerman disagrees.
Kellerman explained Thursday on ESPN’s “First Take” why the Los Angeles Lakers most need to land Irving, who can opt out of his contract with the Boston Celtics and become a free agent: It just might save the end of LeBron James’ career, which took a slight turn for the worse this season in L.A.
“If Kyrie goes to the Lakers, the pairing of LeBron and Kyrie will not only likely work. Immediately, they’ll be a powerhouse, and maybe if things fall right, maybe a champion,” Kellerman said. “Will elevate the Lakers back to where they belong. Will elevate Kyrie back into the kind of player we imagine he can be. And will save the end of LeBron James’ career. The answer is the Lakers.”
Hear more from Kellerman in the video below.
The Lakers had high expectations after signing James last offseason, but they missed the playoffs in a difficult Western Conference, finishing with a 37-45 record. There was no shortage of drama in Los Angeles, either, prompting Magic Johnson to abruptly resign as team president of basketball operations last month.
This summer could be vital to restoring the Lakers’ reputation and championship aspirations, and reuniting James with Irving is an intriguing possibility, especially since it seems more plausible in wake of the two mending fences earlier this season. Irving and James, of course, won a title together with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 before the former requested a trade in the summer of 2017 to escape the latter’s shadow.
It’s worth noting Irving isn’t the only superstar the Lakers can target this offseason, as several other high-profile players — including Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson — could be available via free agency and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis still looms as a potential trade target. But wouldn’t it be entertaining, if nothing else, to see James and Irving back together, all things considered?
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images