Kyrie Irving wanted to reunite with LeBron James last offseason

Not too long ago, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving teamed up on the Cleveland Cavaliers and led the franchise to its first-ever NBA championship in 2016. It was a historic run, as it became the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Finals.

But what looked like a harmonious and mutually beneficial partnership ended just a year later when Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics after he demanded a trade.

Since then, he has bounced around from team to team. After asking out again, this time as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he was sent to the Dallas Mavericks nearly a year ago.

In the interim, the Los Angeles Lakers tried to acquire him, and even after Irving landed in Texas, he still had the desire to once again run with James. In fact, he attended two of the Lakers’ playoff games at Arena last spring (h/t Lakers Daily).


“Irving lives in Los Angeles in the offseason, and he had an open calendar after the Dallas Mavericks failed to make the playoffs,” wrote Ramona Shelburne. “But he was also about to become a free agent, and according to sources close to him, Irving had a strong interest in reuniting with James — the man he’d won an NBA championship with as Cavaliers back in 2016 — either in Los Angeles or Dallas.

“Irving was there, sources close to him say, to send that very message.”

Early last offseason, there were whispers that perhaps L.A. was going to make one more run at Irving, an eight-time All-Star. He could’ve given it a legitimate third scorer while taking tons of scoring, ball-handling and playmaking pressure off the aging James.

Instead, Irving re-signed with Dallas. Meanwhile, the Lakers may be a piece or two short of being able to contend.

Did the Lakers make a mistake by not going after Irving with more vigor, especially given their offensive troubles and the fact that scoring continues to rise unabated across the NBA?

One executive said they weren’t wrong to be hesitant to pay a steep price for Irving, given his past incidents and flaky reputation.

“I don’t think I blame [the Lakers] for doing what they did,” a Western Conference executive told ESPN. “Kyrie hadn’t proven he could be stable, like he has been this season. [And] LeBron is simultaneously the most life-giving player to an organization but also the ultimate force-multiplier who totally makes you believe you are better than you are because he just makes everything work.”

But one player on another team feels Irving, despite all his flaws and risks, would’ve given L.A. what it needs to make a run at world championship No. 18.

“It’s just too much on Bron right now,” one rival player whose team recently defeated the Lakers told ESPN. “Everyone is just going to pack the paint and try to frustrate him because they need a lot. Speed. Playmaking. Shooting.”

Irving is averaging 25.8 points and 5.4 assists a game while shooting 48.0% from the field and 41.6% from 3-point range this season for the Mavs, who will visit the Lakers on Wednesday.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

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