The opportunity for another star is there as the free agent class is loaded with talent. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Kemba Walker are some of the headliners. One free agent possibility for the Lakers will be Kyrie Irving, who has played with James before. The pair won a title back in 2016.
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Irving averaged 35 points over the final three games, helping the Cavaliers erase a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Warriors.
He was scoring in single digits and was even relegated to a bench role with the Celtics trying various starting lineups. After ending their three-game home-stand with a loss against the Houston Rockets, the Celtics started their four-game road trip with a game against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena.
The truth is James, who is still dominant, is exiting his prime as he is 34-years-old. The Lakers don’t need necessarily another franchise player, but they can surely use another one. The team will project as a middle of the pack playoff team in the West without any big additions.
Hayward came off the bench and dropped 30 points, his third thirty-point game of the season, and the Warriors got blown out 95-128. He played lights out and shot 12-for-16 from the field, including 4-for-6 from downtown. The 29-year-old also had 7 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with 2 steals on the night.
Any addition, particularly if it’s a star player would make them an instant threat. The team already has three young gifted players in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma.
Los Angeles also has the No. 4 pick in the draft. If the Lakers decide to keep it, instead of packaging it in a trade, there are intriguing options. Players like DeAndre Hunter, Coby White, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, and Cameron Reddish can be impact guys right away.
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Ingram’s health will be key to the Lakers upcoming year, although it’s expected for him to make a full recovery. The 21-year-old stud averaged 18.3 points on 50 percent shooting this season. Over his last six games after the All-Star break, he put up 27.8 points and 7.5 rebounds.
This season, Irving led the Celtics to a 49-33 record before a disappointing playoff run. The 27-year-old point guard averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists, and five rebounds.
Irving is a great shooter the Lakers can use, as they shot only 33 percent from deep (29th). The guard shot 40 percent from three and 87 percent from the charity stripe.
“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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If the Lakers add Irving they’d likely move Ball to the two-guard on defense. Ball will still play the point on offense at least for stretches. Pairing Ball with Kyrie Irving would make sense due to his terrific defense and size. Ball is one of few point guards that can comfortable defend other wing spots.
In the playoffs, things began smoothly as Boston swept Indiana. To be fair, Indiana was without their star, Victor Oladipo, who was out with a knee injury. Their Eastern Conference Semifinals began in a similar fashion as Boston beat Milwaukee by 22 on the road in Game 1. Irving ended the game with 26 points and 11 assists.
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Things changed in dramatic fashion as Milwaukee won the next four games and Irving was nonexistent. Irving averaged 19 points on 30 percent shooting over the stretch. It was a poor way to end the season for a team with such high expectations.
No one is saying Kyrie Irving is for sure out of Boston despite some rumors. If he does decide to leave, the Lakers are a realistic option.
Los Angeles has the money to offer and he has been one of few players to be able to play his game with a dominant ballhandler in James. If the Lakers add Irving, they will be in the mix to contend with the league’s best. They might even give the almighty Warriors some fits.
A team with this talent will certainly be on the level of the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Portland Trail Blazers. The question like with many teams making changes will be chemistry.
You dont expect him to come back jacked up like Semi Ojeleye or anything like that, but continuing to improve strength-wise not only benefits him from being able to defend more players for longer stretches of time and not be a liability, but it also enhances his offensive game and allows him to do a better job of finishing in traffic, whether it be a strong lay-up or dunking on an All-Star wing (and no, its someone other than LeBron James).
One thing is for certain; the Western Conference teams will be in trouble if Irving lands with the purple and gold.
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Boston Celtics rumors: Team is better off without Kyrie Irving
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Kyrie Irving rumors: Celtics should still be worried about Lakers signing star originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
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.
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:
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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.
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.
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“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.
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.