Sunday, October 1 2023

Kyrie Irving‘s Dallas Mavericks may have missed this NBA postseason, but the controversial point guard still turned heads during an action-packed playoff weekend, sitting courtside at the final games of the Los Angeles LakersMemphis Grizzlies series Friday and the Golden State WarriorsSacramento Kings series Sunday.

Irving’s appearance in Los Angeles for the Lakers’ 125-85 Game 6 closeout win reignited speculation that he could rejoin former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James in L.A.

However, James’ Lakers are reportedly “disinterested” in reuniting the two stars because doing so would force them to get rid of several role players that helped Los Angeles revitalize its season around its core of James and Anthony Davis.

One of those players acquired at the deadline, starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, scored a game-high 31 points in the Lakers’ series-clinching drubbing of the Grizzlies on Friday after Irving and James embraced pregame. 

Russell will be a free agent this coming offseason, as will the Lakers’ other starting guard, Austin Reaves, the latest in a long line of late-round or undrafted prospects who have blossomed with the club.

Rui Hachimura, who played a pivotal role off the bench in Game 6, is also a pending free agent, as are several other members of coach Darvin Ham’s rotation including Dennis Schroder, Malik Beasley, Wenyen Gabriel and Troy Brown Jr

If the Lakers were to pursue Irving — another high-salaried superstar — under the NBA’s salary cap, their means of bringing back any of their current role players would be extremely limited.


There are also concerns around how much Irving can propel an NBA championship contender at this point in his career. The 31-year-old point guard drew widespread criticism for sharing a link to an antisemitic film on his social media platforms earlier in the season and then initially refusing to apologize. 

On the court, the Mavericks collapsed down the stretch and tumbled out of the playoffs after acquiring Irving from the Brooklyn Nets to pair him with Luka Dončić. However, Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison expressed optimism at the end of the season that Irving will re-sign with the team.

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Kyrie Irving

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