Despite making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals after a disastrous start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers could look to overhaul their roster this summer. This is particularly true after superstar LeBron James hinted that he’ll retire in the offseason. Although James may actually be contemplating retirement, his comments could be seen as a means to motivate the Lakers. If they’re able to continue to build around him, then he might return next season.
Considering that Los Angeles made a series of midseason moves that dramatically improved this team, it’s not out of the question that they could do it again. However, those moves used up a lot of their remaining assets, and repeating that success could be tough in the offseason. With little to work with, the most obvious free-agent target would be All-Star Kyrie Irving.
The Lakers have been linked to Kyrie Irving, but Dallas stands in their way.
Irving has a history with James, with the two players helping deliver Cleveland their only title in nearly 60 years. The Lakers also considered trading for Irving before the Dallas Mavericks later swooped in.
Now, the Lakers could return the favor by stealing him away in free agency. That’s much easier said than done and would require the Lakers to renounce all of their free agents, save for Austin Reeves, just to offer him a deal that starts out at around $25 million. That might seem like a lot of money, but he could re-sign with the Mavericks for five years and $272.9 million.
The other option would be to try and get the Mavericks to agree to a sign-and-trade but NBA insider Marc Stein has reported that Dallas wouldn’t play ball on such a deal.
That would dramatically limit Irving’s options, including going to the Lakers. If the options are indeed to stay and re-sign a max contract or take far less, Irving would probably do the former.
Of course, Irving is known to be a wild card of sorts, and he might actually sign elsewhere for less. In that case, Dallas would lose him for nothing and would probably be amenable to a sign-and-trade at that point.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether this tactic will work and if Dallas will be able to re-sign Irving. If it doesn’t, then the Lakers may land him, and Dallas will have to decide if they are willing to turn down assets to spite a rival.