Magic Johnson Would ‘Love’ to See Kyrie Irving with Lakers After Nets Trade Request
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Los Angeles Lakers legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson threw his support behind the idea of the Lakers acquiring All-Star guard Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.
Magic took to Twitter to express his hope that the Lakers will find a way to reunite Irving with former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James:
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Friday that Irving requested a trade from the Nets, noting that he would prefer to be moved before Thursday’s trade deadline and will not re-sign with the Nets during the offseason if they keep him.
Charania followed up with a report that the Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks have emerged as potential suitors for Kyrie.
On the court, Irving is enjoying an excellent 2022-23 season, as he was selected an All-Star starter, making him an eight-time All-Star. In 40 games, he is averaging 27.1 points, 5.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 three-pointers made while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
However, off the court, he amplified an antisemitic movie via social media and was suspended indefinitely early this season, ultimately serving eight games.
When healthy, the Lakers have one of the best superstar duos in the NBA in LeBron and Anthony Davis, but AD has missed significant time again this year, and at 25-28, L.A. would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.
Because of the competitive nature of the Western Conference, however, the Lakers are just one game out of a postseason play-in spot and three games out of fourth place.
Thus, the Lakers are expected to be active at the trade deadline in an attempt to add quality pieces around LeBron and Davis. Irving would be an ideal addition, but it is unclear if the Lakers have the ammo needed to make it happen.
The New Orleans Pelicans can swap first-round picks with the Lakers this year and can choose between the Lakers’ 2024 and 2025 first-round picks as well, meaning the earliest first-rounder L.A. can trade is its 2027 pick.
Los Angeles also doesn’t have much in the way of desirable young players to offer, which could make acquiring Kyrie a pipe dream.
James and Irving previously spent three years together as teammates in Cleveland, reaching three NBA Finals and winning one championship.
A core of James, Davis and Irving would be tough to beat come playoff time, and it seems likely that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka will do everything in his power to make it happen since it is unclear how much longer a 38-year-old LeBron will be able to perform at an elite level.