NBA Rumors: Lakers’ top offseason target is trying to lure LeBron from L.A.

LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of pressure on them as they prepare for an important offseason. The Lakers came within two games of the NBA Finals—an impressive turnaround after starting the season 2-8. Despite that, the West will be equally tough next season and likely much deeper too.

Worse yet, Los Angeles has limited options to improve, and superstar Lebron James has admitted that he is considering retirement rather than returning next season. Los Angeles could convince him to change his mind by improving enough for him to put off retirement, though he might not be the same player in year 21 that he was in year 20.

Now they have one more thing to worry about: Dallas Mavericks all-star point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly tried to recruit LeBron James away from the Lakers.

Will LeBron leave the Lakers to play in Dallas?

Interestingly enough, Dallas and Irving have yet to agree to a new contract, though Irving’s recruiting of LeBron is a positive sign that they can retain him. On the other hand, Dallas could have two max players and no cap space. Further complicating things for Dallas is that James can’t even become a free agent after this season. That means that if LeBron wants out, he would have to demand a trade.

James has already stated that he wants to play with his son, Bronny James, when he joins the NBA in the 2024–25 season, and that all but guarantees that he will leave the Lakers. That is still a season away, but it shows that he doesn’t mind leaving Los Angeles. That doesn’t mean that he would try to force his way to Dallas, however, though it would give him his best chance to win a fifth championship.

Even if he does, Dallas has limited trade assets, and, according to Jovan Buddha of The Athletic, the Lakers would only take Luka Doncic back in a deal. There is no chance of that happening, of course, making Irving’s pitch to James unlikely to result in a team-up unless it’s with the Lakers next season.

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Ultimately, barring Irving taking a pay cut to sign with Los Angeles, the odds of LeBron and Irving playing together next season appear slim to none. That said, as the Lakers’ top offseason target, Irving potentially being off the market could force them back to the drawing board.