Reports have recently been released claiming that Kyrie Irving has been actively recruiting LeBron James to join him on the Dallas Mavericks and has been attempting to convince the Mavericks’ front office to make a trade for him.
Despite this, there have also been reports claiming that the Lakers are also looking to add Irving to their roster. While this could end up being a very difficult deal for either team to make, if James and Irving make it clear that they want to once again play together, it is very hard to believe that it will not happen.
In their first stint together, James and Irving were one of the best duos in all of basketball. Although over half a decade has passed since they shared the court together, the duo made three trips to the NBA Finals together and also were integral parts of the historic 3-1 comeback that the Cleveland Cavaliers made against the Golden State Warriors.
With both the Mavericks and Lakers hard-pressed on trade assets, either team has a solid enough chance of getting the deal done to add the other star to their team. Along with this, questions have been raised on if a duo of Irving and James would still be enough to take over the league as they did in Cleveland.
Out of the duo of James and Irving, LeBron will be much more difficult to trade for. It is very likely that the Lakers would not even consider letting him go unless the Mavericks’ trade package includes Luka Doncic. With Doncic being one of the most promising players in the league, and almost guaranteed to be a future MVP of the league, the Mavericks will not be willing to move on from him.
Even if the Lakers are forced into accepting a deal that does not include Doncic, a big three of Irving, James, and Doncic would not guarantee the Mavericks a title. At this point of his career, James is no longer the elite defender that he once was besides when he absolutely needs to be. Pairing this with the backcourt of Doncic and Irving who were arguably the worst defensive backcourt in the league could be a recipe for disaster.
If the Mavericks were able to assemble this big three, they would have to make some moves in free agency to fill the rest of the roster with adequate defenders. However, on the offensive end, this would be one of the toughest teams to stop in the NBA.
The Lakers are much more capable of making this deal work, however, the Mavericks will likely not make the negotiation process easy for them. It has already been reported that the Mavs have no interest in a sign and trade involving D’Angelo Russell. With this being the best chance of a deal getting done, it leaves the Lakers with little to no moves left to add Irving.
However, once free agency opens, there is a chance that Irving could take a pay cut to join James in Los Angeles, or if Irving makes it clear that he will not sign a deal to return to Dallas, they could be forced to simply accept the best offer they can receive from the Lakers.
While adding James to the Mavericks, even with Doncic on the team, may not be enough to win a ring, adding Irving to the Lakers could leave Los Angeles as championship favorites. The biggest problem with the big three in Dallas was their lack of defense. However, the Lakers have Anthony Davis.
Davis proved in the playoffs that he is still one of the top interior defenders in the league. If he can remain healthy, a trio of Irving, James, and Davis would be incredibly difficult to beat in a seven-game series. One of the biggest issues that the Lakers ran into in their Western Conference Finals matchup in the playoffs was a source of consistent offense. Both James and Davis at times, were nonfactors on the offensive end, however, Irving is one of the top scorers of this generation with an endless bag. If Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office are able to add him to the roster, it could be the missing piece they needed to win their second championship in the LeBron James era.
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