If the Lakers opt to pursue Kyrie Irving in free agency, the Mavericks wouldn’t be interested in taking back free agent guard D’Angelo Russell as the primary player in a sign-and-trade deal, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack column.
There hasn’t been any concrete information that trying to sign Irving is part of the Lakers’ offseason plans, Stein adds, but there’s plenty of speculation that LeBron James would like to reunite with his former Cavaliers teammate. L.A. was heavily rumored as a possible destination for Irving when he considered opting out of his contract last summer and again when he asked the Nets for a trade in February.
James’ retirement talk after being swept by Denver is widely seen as a message to the Lakers’ front office that a roster upgrade is needed, but Stein isn’t convinced that they’ll be active on the free agent market. He states that the team’s preferred plan is to reach new deals with two of its own free agents, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. It’s less certain that L.A. wants to keep Russell after his disastrous performance in the Western Conference Finals, Stein adds.
The Mavericks appear committed to keeping Irving after paying a high price to acquire him from Brooklyn, according to Stein. A report last weekend indicated that a “handshake deal” may already be in place for Irving to remain in Dallas.
Stein passes along more inside information:
- Teams around the league are expecting new Wizards president Michael Winger to be aggressive in trying to reshape the roster this summer, but Bradley Beal‘s no-trade clause may complicate his plans. Stein points out that Beal has four seasons left on his five-year, $251MM contract and can’t be sent to any other team unless he agrees to the deal. Stein also wonders how the front office change will affect Kristaps Porzingis, who reportedly began extension talks in March.
- Kevin Ollie and Charles Lee were set for second interviews this week for the Pistons‘ head coaching vacancy, but Stein hears that the team hasn’t given up on its pursuit of Monty Williams. The former Suns head coach reportedly turned down a “big-money” offer from Detroit, but some members of the organization are hoping he might reconsider.
- A source tells Stein that Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez is a legitimate candidate to become the Raptors‘ new head coach.