Several outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets had been open to talking to teams about potential Kyrie Irving trades during that time. Obviously, nothing came to fruition. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during that stretch of the season, sources say.
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Marc Stein: Kyrie Irving remains as much a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard, league sources say, now that the Lakers are sure they can open maximum cap space. They are swinging for the fences despite all of the signals that have pointed Irving to Brooklyn …
Because of salary cap rules, if the trade is consummated in late July, the Lakers would have the space to add another maximum contract. That cap space could be used on players like Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, all-star point guards who will be free agents. That scenario would require the Lakers to draft the fourth overall pick for the Pelicans, or whatever team has its rights by the time of the draft, then sign that player as quickly as possible. League rules do not allow a signed draft pick to be traded for 30 days, which would make July 20 the earliest date the trade could be consummated.
As of late this week, teams interested in pursuing Kyrie Irving remained under the impression that the Nets were the odds-on favorite to land the point guard, per sources. But no team interested in Irving, including the Knicks and Lakers, had been led to believe that they are out of the running to sign him, those sources say.
Like all Los Angeles Lakers fans, swingman Josh Hart would love for the team to bring in a few more superstars to join LeBron James to start next season. The Lakers have had their eye on Anthony Davis since the trade deadline, but Hart went a different route. On The Eavesdrop Podcast, Hart said that he is hoping the Purple and Gold will be able to sign Philadelphia 76ers forward Jimmy Butler and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving in free agency. “S—, I hope we get a couple free agents. I hope we get a super team or some s—. I hope we get, s—, Jimmy, Kyrie. There’s no tampering for the players, so s—, I hope we get Jimmy, Kyrie… Just imagine if we had that. Like bro, and the thing is, all those dudes are good dudes, so everyone would sacrifice for each other. And people don’t realize, when everyone sacrifices and the team wins at the end of the day, that’s the biggest thing.”
Irving apologized to James for the way things ended between them in Cleveland, and the All-Star guard reportedly “has had discussions” about joining the Lakers this summer. A James-Irving reunion might seem far-fetched, but the two stars hung out together Thursday in Los Angeles, and then James liked a photoshopped picture of Irving in a Lakers jersey.
Even though the Lakers talk is the hot rumor, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan poured some cold water on it Friday on the latest Hoop Collective podcast. “I did a little digging around and my feeling is very strongly that while LeBron and Kyrie have kissed and made up, that Kyrie is not going there,” she said. “He’s just not. I just don’t believe it. And I think people close to him just don’t believe it either.”
Jordan Schultz: Kyrie Irving was seen with LeBron at Hyde in LA on Saturday.
Irving and Lakers star LeBron James won a championship together while they were teammates with the Cavaliers from 2014-17. But Irving reportedly wanted a bigger role and asked Cleveland to trade him before he was eventually sent to the Celtics. Irving, however, said he apologized to James during a phone call in late January. Windhorst reported: “If you had asked me six months ago, I’d have said the door was closed and locked — (Irving signing with Los Angeles) was not going to happen. But over the last few months, there has no doubt been a thawing between Kyrie and LeBron, and Kyrie has become more open to joining the Lakers and has done some research on the organization.”
Windhorst added: “With Magic leaving — that was a guy he felt a connection to — and with great opportunities in Brooklyn and in New York, plus Boston trying to keep him, I think the Lakers are lower on his list. But they’re on his list, and that gives them a fighting chance. Boston has got to still be worried about the Lakers in the Kyrie pursuit.”
The C’s guard wanted out of Cleveland before the 2017-18 season and not wanting to play with James was among the reported reasons for his trade request. Irving talked during this past season about apologizing to James for the way things transpired during their time together in Cleveland, and that led some people to believe a reunion actually was possible. However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith revealed during Monday’s episode of “First Take” a text exchange he had with people close to Irving’s family, and they were emphatic that an Irving-James partnership in Los Angeles isn’t going to happen. “From what I’m told, it’s not going to happen,” Smith said. “I got a text message from folks close to Kyrie’s family, within the hour, as we were teasing this subject. Quote: ‘There is no way in hell he’s going to LA. I don’t give a damn what anybody says, knock that down for us right now please. He ain’t going to LA.’ That’s what they say.
According to NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith, while there is no guarantee that Irving will end up with the Lakers, his sources can confirm that the All-Star guard will be open to a meeting with the Purple and Gold officials to see what they have to offer. “I’m told Kyrie Irving will grant the Lakers an interview this offseason. The Lakers will have an opp to get Kyrie Irving to come to LA. I did not say he’s coming to LA! I did not say that! I don’t know what he’s gonna do, but during his free-agent tour, I’m told he’ll give the Lakers an interview.
Marc Stein: “There are some people around the league who watched the events of last week when Kyrie said what he said and have watched all month as Kyrie and LeBron have seemingly lobbed Valentine’s back and forth to each other about how much they miss each other. Now, there is a sense that what if the Lakers could Anthony Davis AND Kyrie? And they’re the ones who steal Kyrie Irving away from the Celtics and not the Knicks … There are people who believe that is the grand Laker plan.“
Hey Chris, can you see Kyrie joining LeBron in LA? Chris Fedor: Before answering, let me direct you to my recent piece where I asked numerous Cavaliers this very question. The consensus from them: It’s Irving. He’s wired different. He can be moody. What he thinks now may not be the same in three weeks or even three months. He likes to keep people guessing and is always looking for the next challenge. While I wouldn’t completely rule out Irving and James reuniting in Los Angeles, it’s tough to see LA being Irving’s top choice this summer. Think about why he wanted out of Cleveland. The status quo hasn’t changed.
For all the talk of Irving’s recent apology to LeBron James and the idea that Irving might renege on his October promise to re-sign in order to reunite with his former Cleveland Cavaliers co-star with the Lakers, a source with knowledge of the Celtics’ thinking said there is little to no concern about that prospect within their green walls.
A source close to the Celtics confirmed that Kyrie Irving is genuinely interested in reuniting with his former Cavaliers teammate. “That is for real,” the source said.
Chris, you know LeBron James and you know Kyrie Irving. Can you see him seriously considering the Lakers at this point? Chris Haynes: “I can’t, because you’ve gotta hold him to his word. [He’s] the one that came out unprompted and said he’s gonna be a Celtic next year. So I haven’t heard anything on the grapevine that suggests Kyrie – this is the first I’ve heard that he could be thinking about joining the Lakers. But I wouldn’t put it past – all these teams have an obligation to check on all the free agents and gauge their interest, so I definitely think the Lakers and a number of other teams will do their due diligence but I gotta take Kyrie by his word. He said he’s gonna be a Celtic.
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May 26, 2022 | 9:03 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN’s NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz is finalizing a deal to become an assistant GM with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Schmitz will play a significant role with new GM Joe Cronin in leading the Blazers’ domestic and international scouting departments.
In the aftermath of the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, the Miami Heat used a pre-game moment to urge fans to contact U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both Florida Republicans, “demanding their support for common sense gun laws” — and telling them they can “make change at the ballot box.” Rubio, who is up for re-election this fall, didn’t like it. He took to Twitter on Thursday, lambasting the NBA for “politicizing a horrific tragedy in America.”
“The Heat urges you to contact your state senators by calling 202-224-3121 to leave a message demanding their support for common sense gun laws. You can also make change at the ballot box. Visit heat.com/vote to register and let your voice be heard this fall,” the statement said. Many fans could be heard cheering as the announcement was made.
May 26, 2022 | 8:27 pm EDT Update
Melissa Rohlin: Steve Kerr on the reaction he’s received to his comments on the mass shootings. “I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me, most asking what they can do… What I’m asking people to do is get involved in their local communities…call your senators.”
Callie Caplan: Steve Kerr has encouraged others to call their reps since his viral comment on Uvalde: “I have lots of friends who are Democrats and lots of friends who are Republicans. All I know is they all want gun violence to go away, so we just need to get our public servants to respond.”
Melissa Rohlin: Kidd was asked about his comment that the Warriors play zone because they can’t guard them one-on-one. He said it’s a compliment to his guys, not a shot at the Warriors. But he added that as a player, he knows if a coach makes adjustments, it’s because his team can’t do something