LeBron James likes Kyrie Irving in a Lakers jersey, recruiting others for 2019 – UPI News

LeBron James \likes\ Kyrie Irving in a Lakers jersey, recruiting others for 2019 - UPI News
Rumor: Clippers not interested in Jimmy Butler, he would sign with Lakers for max
May 24 (UPI) — Off-season recruiting is underway for LeBron James, and he likes the thought of former teammate Kyrie Irving wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

Jamess social media activity comes after sources told ESPN that he was seen with Irving on Saturday at Hyde in Los Angeles. Irving also was filmed while walking through the city Wednesday.

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Sources told ESPN that James has also had contact with Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia 76ers star Jimmy Butler. He had dinner with New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook on Wednesday at Nobu in Los Angeles.

During his eight years in Charlotte, Walker has established himself as a All-Star calibre player in the NBA and became the franchises all-time leader scorer in 2018.

Irving, 27, has a $21.3 million player option for next season. Davis, 26, is under contract for $27 million in 2019 and has a $28.7 million player option in 2020. Leonard, 27, has a $21.3 million player option in 2019. Butler, 29, has a $19.8 million player option in 2019 with the 76ers.

Irving reached out to James earlier in the season to apologise over the way he left the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2017, and James recently liked a mocked up photo of the guard in a Lakers jersey.

Should a team feel comfortable giving Jimmy Butler — who will turn 30 before next season, is a hard-charging personality who plays a hard-charging style that can be hard on his body, and has only once played 70 or more games in the past six seasons — a four-year, $141 million max contract?

If the Lakers strike out with Kyrie Irving and other top targets (Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are not interested, according to sources), should they give Butler the max and sign him comfortable or not?

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LeBron James has already reached out to start recruiting Butler, and if the Lakers offer him the max Butler would love to come, Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times said on the Colin Cowherd. Markazi adds that the Clippers are not interested because they are aiming higher on the food chain.

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When @ColinCowherd asked me this morning on @TheHerd what star player the Lakers could realistically sign, I didnt waste any time saying Jimmy Butler. He likes L.A, LeBron James has been in touch with him and he would join the Lakers in a second if they offered him a max deal. pic.twitter.com/wXStzcAFzh

Another characteristic the Lakers had on their side was a connection to the past.  The Lakers have 34 Hall of Famers who were connected to the franchise at one time or another in their basketball careers. These include recent stars like Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal, and Steve Nash. But consider, Magic Johnson, a “Laker lifer” recently resigned as president of basketball operations. Vlade Divac played eight seasons for Los Angeles is now serving as the general manager for the Sacramento Kings. Jerry West, “The Logo”, NBA champion (1972), NBA Finals MVP (1969), and a 14-time all-star is working across the hall for the Clippers.

That is what a lot of sources have said about the Clippers, they would need to move Danilo Gallinari (and do a little more) to sign both Leonard and Durant, but would and should in a heartbeat.

Video: Kemba Walker might be the only free agent LeBron can recruit to the Lakers – Stephen A. | First Take

Butler is going to have options, starting with the Philadelphia 76ers, who do not want to let him go. As it got near the end of Phillys playoff run it had seemed Butler had found a home, both on the court as a primary ball handler in the halfcourt, and off the court as a leader and someone who bonded with Joel Embiid. Also, Philadelphia can offer more money, a projected $190 million over five years, and for a guy who has had injury issues that extra year and extra money might matter a lot.

Usually, star players have more options. But players who fashion themselves as stars may not want to join LeBron because it would mean not having the ball as much and struggling to find a rhythm. That was a lot of what Irving and Love experienced in Cleveland, and getting the ball maybe one out of every three or four possessions is difficult for players who are used to having the ball in their hands on nearly every offensive possession. On the other hand, Irving and Love both had monster performances and played their way into All-Star games and postseason wins. Those experiences might be able to woo those players back to LeBron.

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Is Butler going to stay? What should we read into his cryptic Instagram post? If he leaves, does he want to play with LeBron? Is that the Lakers best option? (I think the Lakers should prefer Irving, who is younger and coming off an All-NBA regular season, plus he has a track record of winning with LeBron, but if not him…)

Butler has a track record of being a tough teammate, however. Could a dominant personality like Butler co-exist with James? It’s a risk that the Lakers may have no choice but to take, but it seems like a pretty good one. Butler’s known league-wide as one of the NBA’s hardest workers — something LeBron’s teammates have raved about often. So Butler and James wouldn’t have trouble finding common ground. However, Butler’s recent playoff performance in Philadelphia has made him a fan favorite, making it harder to see him bolting.

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