Although Kyrie Irving‘s desire to have the Mavericks trade for LeBron James is unrealistic, Dallas is a market the Lakers star would consider if he ever decides to leave L.A., Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.
Sources tell Stein that the Mavs began investigating their chances of landing James last season before they acquired Irving in February. The organization understands that James would have to take the initiative in asking for a trade to Dallas for the move to become possible, according to Stein’s sources.
There’s no indication that James will consider requesting such a deal, Stein adds, with his family settled in Los Angeles and his oldest son committed to play for USC. Stein also points out that instead of trying to break up the team’s foundation of James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers opted to rebuild around them and wound up in the conference finals.
Stein’s theory is that it benefits Irving to show the Mavericks that he might have some value as a recruiter who can attract high-level talent to Dallas. It’s believed throughout the league that Dallas wants to re-sign him to a team-friendly contract, so reaching out to James may be a negotiating ploy.
Stein adds that not much has changed for either the Mavericks or the Lakers since their seasons ended. L.A.’s priority will be to keep free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, while the Mavs plan to re-sign Irving and try to trade their first-round pick for veteran help. Stein cites two sources who told him Monday that Irving is happy in Dallas and wants to stay there.
There’s more on the Mavericks:
- Dallas will reach out to ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy to see if he is interested in returning to the sidelines as an assistant coach, Stein reports in another Substack piece. Van Gundy’s last NBA coaching job was 16 years ago, but he has done some international work with Team USA since then. League sources tell Stein that the Mavericks still have interest in adding Jeff Hornacek to Jason Kidd’s staff.
- Tim Cato of The Athletic looks at seven potential trades the Mavs could make with their No. 10 pick. He proposes deals with the Raptors, Hawks, Nets, Kings and Pelicans.
- If the Mavericks keep their pick, the new front office will focus more on athleticism and physicality more than shooting or other skills, Cato adds in a separate story. Team and league sources tell Cato that Dallas isn’t likely to have interest in Kansas sharpshooter Gradey Dick, who may still be on the board in that range.