LeBron James talks Lakers loss on Kyrie Irving trade: ‘Certainly disappointed’
LeBron James says he’s quickly focusing on the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the trade deadline after Kyrie Irving, his former teammate with whom he won a championship in 2016, was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks by the Brooklyn net.
But he can’t lie either.
“Oh, definitely disappointed,” he told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon in an interview following the blockbuster trade that ended a tumultuous tenure with Brooklyn over the past four seasons. “I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed that I’m not about to land such talent. Someone I had great chemistry with and I know I have a great chemistry with who can help you win championships, in my But my focus has changed now My focus is back to where it should be and it’s this club now and what we have in the dressing room.
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The Lakers were rumored to be the first to land Irving, reuniting him with James to potentially recapture that magic they had with the Cleveland Cavaliers when the Akron kid returned home, leading to the league’s only title. franchise. Los Angeles is on the hunt for an All-Star they can add to the starting roster, as James & Co. certainly doesn’t want to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
However, James isn’t worried about what his team is doing at Deadline now (at least not publicly). He thinks the Lakers have what it takes to make the playoffs and even make a run if they stay healthy.
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“I’m not too excited about the possibilities of things that can be,” James explained after Wilbon was shocked he went by so quickly. “I imagine a little about what it can [be], but I don’t invest all the way until I know what’s going on. When that doesn’t happen, I’m back locked into the work at hand. We had an opportunity. Our name was there, the Lakers name was there. We had an opportunity, it didn’t happen and we are ending this season strong. Try to get a playoff offer where I feel like we’re going healthy, we can compete with anyone.”
The Lakers were reportedly Irving’s preferred destination, but another report said one of Nets owner Joe Tsai’s “alleged goals” was to not meet that demand for a polarizing point guard. So trading with the Lakers, unless blown away by the package, was not in the cards.
Instead, he and general manager Sean Marks signed a deal involving Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a future first-round pick and two second-round players. Brooklyn was reported on Monday to also be looking for a potential third team to trade with.
Los Angeles, however, reportedly sent an offer to Brooklyn for evaluation. Russell Westbrook teaming up with Kevin Durant again was the title of the package which also includes first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.
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But the Nets fought back, allegedly asking for younger players, such as Austin Reaves and Max Christie, and other trade picks, according to The Athletic.
And if a deal were to be reached, the Lakers wanted a guarantee that Irving would sign a two-year extension, given that his contract expires at the end of the year.
The Phoenix Suns were also potential suitors, offering perennial All-Stars Chris Paul and Jae Crowder as well as draft picks, according to Bleacher Report.
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Either way, Irving begins his new journey with Luka Doncic and the Mavs, while James will have to see them twice more this regular season, the earliest on Feb. 26.