Despite the public stir and speculations he created upon his recent appearance as a spectator in the Los Angeles Lakers’ series-clinching win over the Memphis Grizzlies, it still appears unlikely that Kyrie Irving will be able to wear a purple and gold uniform starting next year.
Sources told The Athletic’s Tim Cato that the Lakers are “disinterested” in hunting for Irving’s service come free agency next offseason, as this may require the club to fully let go of their significant pieces that helped them to flip their season around.
“Of course, there’s nothing notable about an out-of-season basketball player attending a basketball game in the city known as this league’s summer home. And no matter how close Irving might be to James, the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing him in free agency, say league sources,” Cato wrote in his recent piece.
Irving, 30, is set to hit the market as an unrestricted free-agent this 2023 offseason. Based on his intent to fully depart with the Brooklyn Nets last midseason, the All-Star is fully eager to secure a lucrative deal for his next contract.
Should the Lakers ultimately go for him, this may ultimately require them to sacrifice a hefty chunk of their salary cap space flexibility – endangering themselves further with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement set to affect them starting next year. Besides, both D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves have been their perfect tertiary stars behind both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and retaining the two seems more logical as it is.
Having Irving at their side is a potential double-edged sword for the franchise. While he is no doubt a highly talented cager and one of the best scorers in the league, his injury and notoriety tendencies are baggage that are heavy to be carried on for their continuing championship hunt in the team’s current LeBron era.
While Los Angeles aren’t showing cryptic signs of that intent to land Irving, the Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, are all in to have him back as what Cato pointed out. It has been well regarded around the league that bringing the star point man back for a long-term vision is their primary offseason goal after a humiliating campaign of postseason absence and that risky commitment of Luka Doncic.
With Irving possessing such a sketchy demeanor throughout the season, his looming free agency status is truly a must-watch scenario with the gates of the free agency marketplace set to welcome him for the next few months to come.