The Lakers have emerged as a clear contender to acquire Kyrie Irving ahead of the league’s trade deadline next Thursday after the Nets guard requested out of Brooklyn on Friday. Naturally, observers wondered what Lakers star LeBron James thought about the potential for his team to trade for his onetime teammate.
James appeared to be intrigued by Irving’s possible availability when he posted a tweet Friday that seemed to be in response to the guard’s trade quest. However, James was asked for the first time about a potential reunion with Irving on Saturday night after L.A.’s 131–126 loss to the Pelicans.
“That’s a Rob [Pelinka] question,” James said, referring to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. “You got to see him when y’all get back to L.A. I’ve told y’all a couple weeks, I don’t speak for our front office. My mindset is whatever lineup or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win.
“Obviously, that’s a–what’s the word you use–‘duh’ question when you talk about a player like that.”
James’s answer is reminiscent of a response he gave to ESPN back in December 2018 when asked if the Lakers should explore a trade for then-Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
“That would be amazing,” James said of Davis at the time. “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
Of course, L.A. would strike a deal for the star big man the following offseason and then go on to win a championship behind James and Davis in 2020.
Irving’s request out of Brooklyn comes after negotiations on a contract extension reportedly broke down between him and the Nets. The eight-time All-Star is set to become a free agent this upcoming offseason, which gives Brooklyn incentive to recoup some collection of assets before the trade deadline, rather than let Irving walk away for nothing in the offseason.
Though the Lakers are one of the interested parties in striking a deal with the Nets, they won’t be the only Irving suitors over the next five days. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks, Suns and most recently, the Clippers all are exploring a trade for the Nets star, setting the stage for an intriguing deadline.