Lakers rumors: Front office has no plans to pursue Kyrie Irving in upcoming NBA free agency

The Los Angeles Lakers may have lost to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday (sans LeBron James and Anthony Davis), but according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, they are overjoyed with their current roster. So pleased, in fact, that they’re not currently planning to freehand pursue Kyrie Irving this summer.

During an appearance on The HoopsHype Podcast with Michael Scotto, Buha said:

This group was really a good fit. This is my third season in the beat, this is the best chemistry and vibe I’ve seen on the team. I think you see it during games, just the interactions on the bench, and you feel it in the dressing room. There’s such levity in it. So I think the Lakers will largely scale that back with most of the upcoming free agents that they have.


From what I’ve been told, they won’t be chasing Kyrie Irving this offseason. That could of course change. Let’s see how the rest of the regular season unfolds. We’ll see what happens in the postseason if they make it. But to my knowledge, and [from] From what I’ve been told, the Kyrie ship has sailed, I believe. And again, you never want to say never – that could easily change. But for now, her plan is to scale that back.

The Lakers reportedly attempted to acquire Irving from the Brooklyn Nets in February. According to ESPN, they offered since-traded Russell Westbrook and two future first-round picks, but that wasn’t enough. The Nets sent him to the Dallas Mavericks, and shortly thereafter Los Angeles grabbed Westbrook, Damian Jones and Juan Toscano-Anderson with his protected top-four pick from 2027 and a second-round pick from 2024 in a trade that D’Angelo Russell returned , Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.

Irving will be a free agent in July. In theory, the Lakers could create about $30 million in cap space during the offseason, but that’s significantly less than the roughly $47 million starting salary to which Irving is entitled. More importantly, if they signed him, they would have to give up all of their upcoming free agents and give up every player on a non-guaranteed contract. It’s understandable that Los Angeles, having just made a future pick to put together a reasonably balanced roster, would be in no rush to dump almost all of its role players.

The Lakers have been 9-5 since Russell, Vanderbilt and Beasley arrived, although James has only played in three of those games (all wins). It remains unclear how much upside potential there is for this group if and when James returns, but even before the new lads had played a game, an Irving-James reunion seemed like a long shot. When the front office traded three second-round picks for soon-to-be restricted free agent Rui Hachimura in January, it signaled that Los Angeles had no plans to operate as a cap-space team. Larger trading as of the reporting date confirmed this.

Working as an over-the-cap team, the Lakers can potentially renew or re-sign Russell, take up Beasley’s $16.5 million team option, restricted free agent Austin Reaves, unrestricted free agent Lonnie Walker and Hachimura return. You can also add a player likely using the taxpayer midlevel exception. Even if they decide at the end of the season that they need to turn things around, this route gives them a lot more flexibility to make moves than the other.

As Buha noted, the Lakers’ plans today won’t necessarily be their plans a few months from now. If Irving and James are motivated enough to get back together, there are ways to do it. However, the moves Los Angeles has taken don’t suggest the front office is expecting it.

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