Kyrie Irving asks LeBron James if he wants to join Mavericks: How realistic is a reunion?

Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving has reached out to former teammate LeBron James in an effort to see if the Los Angeles Lakers star will come to Dallas, according to league sources. Athletic. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Irving and James previously played together for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2017.
  • The Nets traded Irving to the Mavericks in early February after requesting a trade from Brooklyn.
  • James signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2018 and agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the team through 2022.

AthleticInstant Analysis:

What does this mean for Dallas?

Re-signing Irving was the team’s top priority this offseason, and this doesn’t change that. But it’s clear that Irving and James still have a strong desire to play with each other again — and Dallas should at least consider acquiring James or trying to make it a priority. – Cato

How can Dallas get James and will it work?

Getting three max players on a roster is tougher than ever, especially under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement. Whether James is acquired via trade or free agency, Dallas will have to trim its roster — including shooting and defense — to accommodate both players.

Which leads to a question that seems ridiculous on its face: Would Irving, James and Luka Doncic be title favorites if they joined forces? The team will be a ridiculous offensive force, but they were last season as well. Finding shooters and covering defenders will be difficult, and adding James will give them less realistic lanes. – Cato

How realistic is a James-Irving reunion?

From the moment James announced his retirement, there was a feeling among the Lakers and those around him that James’ comments were a ploy to apply pressure on the organization to improve significantly this season.

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James announced last summer, ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, that he wanted Irving next to him and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. The summary also suggests that James and Irving are serious about teaming up this summer.

Where is the obvious follow-up? The Lakers have no interest in buying Dallas’ younger players or limited draft assets. James can try to force their hand, but it gets messy. If James wanted to buy out and sign with Dallas as a free agent, he technically could, but he would be leaving a lot of money on the table (with both him and Irving taking steep discounts).

The clean path for James and Irving to play together in Los Angeles is either Irving takes a waiver to sign with the Lakers in free agency or Dallas sends him in a sign-and-trade. James to Dallas is possible, but incredibly unlikely. – Flea

Backstory

Irving is set to become a free agent this summer. Last month, Athletic The Mavericks said they were confident they could re-sign the guard after trading him with the intent of a long-term partnership with Doncic. The disastrous season began long before Irving’s arrival, when Dallas went 5-11 when Doncic and Irving played together. Its eventual loss, which rested starters in the final two games to boost draft standing, didn’t shake the team’s hopes for what the duo could be.

Meanwhile, James caused quite a stir in the NBA world when he said he was at least considering the possibility of retirement this season following his team’s win at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

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Sources close to James downplayed the idea that he would actually retire. Athleticof Sam Amick recently reported.

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(Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

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