Remember when Kyrie Irving hit that tie-breaking 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers to a title?
LeBron James — whose Los Angeles Lakers team could use a jolt — does. He has a championship ring on his hand because of it.
Maybe that’s why James “wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone,” according to a report from NBA insider Marc Stein on Substack, as shared by SB Nation’s Silver Screen and Role.
The Nets and Lakers are engaged in trade discussions involving Irving, who earlier this month flirted with the idea of not opting in to the final year of his contract in Brooklyn to sign with the Lakers as a free agent. That would have meant a $30 million pay cut that Irving did not take.
How quickly things change. Since Irving opted in, Kevin Durant demanded a trade from the Nets. If the Nets are going to grant Durant’s wish, there is no point in keeping around an unhappy Irving.
“What other team, plus, has a LeBron-sized personality with the experience to cope with all the chaos that comes with adding Kyrie?” Stein wondered in his column. “James, remember, has often thrived in chaos.”
Just one season after winning that championship as teammates, Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers to get out of James’ shadow. He wound up with the Celtics, then the Nets.
Now they could be reunited at James’ urging as the Lakers try not to waste the final years of the greatest player of his generation’s career with another season of missing the playoffs, as was the case with the failed James-Russell Westbrook-Anthony Davis trio in 2021-22.