Is LeBron James talking retirement to get Kyrie Irving to the Lakers?

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks want to sign Kyrie Irving to a long-term contract this summer. They traded two starters, one first-round draft pick, and two second-rounders for the eight-time All-Star in February. Dallas did not give up that haul for a short-term rental. They viewed Irving as Luka Doncic’s co-star and a building block of their present and future.

On the court, things did not go as planned. The Mavericks lost 18 of their final 25 games to miss the playoffs as Irving and Doncic struggled to find a winning combination. Poor roster construction around them deserves plenty of the blame, but Kyrie heads into free agency with all his options on the table.

Rumors suggest the two sides had a handshake agreement on a new contract as the trade went down, but will Irving be back with the Mavericks? He has interest in playing for the Lakers. Irving was in attendance for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, and LeBron James may have begun a power play after the final buzzer.

Is LeBron James talking about retirement to get Kyrie Irving to the Lakers?

The Lakers made a surprising run to the conference finals but were swept by Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. LeBron has zero time to waste in his quest for a fifth championship. The 38-year-old is third in career minutes played and the top scorer in league history. The clock is ticking on his career. James was third-team All-NBA this season, but the injuries are catching up. He may only have one or two more cracks at being the best player on a title-winning squad.

LeBron delivered a cryptic postgame message about considering his future in the NBA after the Lakers loss. Is James seriously considering retirement? He would go down as arguably the best to ever do it, but he was so good this season and has discussed playing in the NBA with his son for years. Could this just be a ploy from James to get what he wants? The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor thinks so.

The duo has talked about playing together again. They won a championship together in Cleveland in 2016, and Kyrie was at two Lakers playoff games sitting in the front row watching LeBron. Irving is an unrestricted free agent, and Los Angeles could create about $30 million in cap space to sign the eight-time All-Star. Is that max money? No, but it is a large chunk of dollars if Kyrie wants to be in LA playing next to LeBron.

Zach Lowe did a deep dive with Bobby Marks on his podcast that fans can listen to below.

It is nearly unfathomable that LeBron retires after an incredible season and being so close to playing in the league with or against his eldest son. James has been known to use the media to get a message across several times throughout his career. 20 years in the NBA is a long-time, but fans can bank on this one being a shot to the Lakers front office to improve the roster around him or he will ride off into the sunset.

That likely means finding a way to sign Kyrie Irving in free agency. Will the 6’2 point guard be willing to take $30 million to join the Lakers with Dallas offering a max contract? It is impossible to say, but the pressure is again on the Mavs.

Just like last summer when Jalen Brunson left, a serious suitor has emerged. Can Dallas fend them off and keep the star talent around Luka Doncic? They failed with Brunson, and LeBron often gets what he wants. Does that mean Kyrie will be wearing purple and gold next season? Do not rule it out.

This is a storyline to watch as the offseason chatter heats up. Remember, Irving made a surprising decision to join forces with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn back in 2019. Few saw them teaming with the Nets, but it happened. Could Kyrie be plotting a way to join LeBron James on the Lakers? It appears more likely by the day, but fans will just have to stay tuned to see how it all plays out.

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