The Los Angeles Lakers remain a long shot in the Kyrie Irving free agency sweepstakes. But theyre very much still an option, according to ESPNs Brian Windhorst.
The Boston Celtics are coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in recent years. With the team going through a roller-coaster of events that had started from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It wasn’t fun to watch at all. With everything that had happened throughout the year, I had a few thoughts running through my mind on why the season was such a big disappointment. One of the thoughts that came to mind was the lack of leadership.
Heres Windhorst speaking Monday night on “SportsCenter” about the chances of Irving leaving the Boston Celtics to reunite with ex-teammate LeBron James in Los Angeles:
He never cared about what the score was he just went out there and did his job and led his team in whatever way he could. These guys had a different type of passion for the game when they put on that Celtics jersey though. It was like they actually cared about the history of the team and were willing to sacrifice a lot and were also willing to do whatever it took to get them to the NBA Finals.
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“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have had said the door was closed and locked, that was not gonna happen. But over the last few months, there has no doubt been a thawing between Kyrie and LeBron and Kyrie has become to be more open to joining the Lakers and has done some research on the organization.”
Earlier Monday, former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said Irving and Kawhi Leonard would be his top two free-agent priorities if he was still in L.A.s front office.
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Irving has plenty of other options, namely the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and his current team, the Celtics. The Lakers might rank behind those options for the N.J. native, but Windhorst believes theyre still in the mix.
The Knicks are considered by many to be the favorite to land Irving. Though, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers have also been mentioned. Irving could also remain with the Boston Celtics, despite the drama that has followed him.
“With Magic leaving, that was a guy he felt a connection to,” Windhorst added. “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 theyre on his list, and that gives them a fighting chance.
Kyrie Irvings high school coach sees him going to Knicks
The Lakers need to get their own house in order; Johnson accused general manager Rob Pelinka of backstabbing on his way out, and the historic franchise faces mounting pressure to find a star to pair with James. ESPNs Stephen A. Smith also reported recently theres “no way in hell” Irving signs in L.A. this summer.
But the Celtics star has remained unpredictable, and it sounds like Tinseltown still has a seat at his free agency table.
“I think theres a good chance in my opinion that Kyrie ends up here [in New York],” Boyle told SNY.tvs Ian Begley, while making it clear that he was speaking as a fan and not someone who knows what Irvings plans are for next season. “In my gut, I would think that would work best for him and I would think that [the Knicks] have a really strong chance of that happening.”
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Both have been linked time and again to the New York Knicks, who will have enough cap space to sign two players to max contracts.
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Donning my amateur psychiatrist hat, I think Kyrie needs a measure of stability in order to thrive–I think that the whirlwind life he’s led up to know has gotten a bit old. I have no doubt that one of the reasons why he asked to be excused from the Cavs was the perpetual chaos that surrounds LeBron. I think Kyrie wants a basketball ‘home’, and if Boston seemed like that kind of a home in October, things rapidly changed once the season started. Had the season lived up to expectations, there wouldn’t have been incessant questions about whether Kyrie was going to stay in Boston, whether Kyrie should stay in Boston, and whether he was even a good influence on the rest of the team.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson took over as president of basketball operations on February 21, 2017, but abruptly stepped down from his role during an impromptu news conference on April 9, 2019, and without telling majority owner and good friend Jeanie Buss, who had hired him.
Irving, who grew up in West Orange, played ball at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth. Irvings high school head coach was Kevin Boyle, who thinks the former No. 1 overall draft pick will come home and sign with the Knicks. Per SNY:
I think theres a good chance in my opinion that Kyrie ends up there, Boyle said, stressing that he was speaking as a fan and not as someone who had inside information on Irvings plans. …. In my gut, I would think that would work best for him and I would think that (the Knicks) have a really strong chance of that happening. But I have not spoken directly to him and I dont know that to be a fact.
Kyrie Irvings high-school coach guesses Boston Celtics guard is headed to New York Knicks
The Cleveland Cavaliers made Irving the No. 1 pick in 2011. He played three seasons with LeBron James, winning an NBA Title in 2016. The following year, the Cavaliers traded Irving to the Celtics. Irving missed the playoffs last year with a knee injury. This year, he and the Celtics lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs.
Mike Rosenstein may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rosenstein73. Find NJ.com on Facebook.