The NBA’s offseason has officially started, and less than one week after the championship series ended, chaos is already beginning to take over.
The two most chaotic teams in the NBA last season were the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Both teams had enormous payrolls and a ton of star power, but neither lived up to pre-season expectations.
As such, neither organization is expected to run it back for another year. But is there any possibility the two teams use each other to shake up their rosters for next season?
Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has a player option in his contract and thus could become a free agent this offseason. Ultimately, there’s no guarantee he opts to stay with the Nets.
According to Shams Charania, “an impasse currently exists among the parties” and that “clears the way” for him to “consider the open marketplace” around the league. There is a lot going on in that sentence, but basically, we need to start thinking about where else Irving could play next season.
Here is what Shams said about the possibility of Irving joining the Lakers:
“For the Lakers, the likely path to acquire Irving would be him opting in to facilitate a trade, because the Lakers cannot realistically clear cap space to sign him themselves, and a sign-and-trade would trigger the hard cap, thus making acquiring Irving significantly more difficult. If Irving would opt in, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would have to satisfy the collective bargaining agreement’s salary-matching rules, meaning if Irving’s $36.6 million was the only incoming salary, the Lakers could send anywhere from $29.3 million to $45.8 million to the Nets and/or a third team in a legal transaction.”
That feels unlikely, but it’s not the first time we have heard such rumors.
It’s basically impossible Irving can sign with the Lakers outright as a free agent, but perhaps the two front offices could make something work with a potential sign-and-trade.
Irving has said he has regrets about his relationship with LeBron James, adding that they could have won more championships if they continued playing together.
It is easy to fantasize about a potential reunion of the two stars in Los Angeles, especially considering there are mixed reports about whether or not Brooklyn is even willing to offer Irving a long-term contract extension. But the logistics of making such a deal work within the salary cap would be very tough.
One way or another, though, we should have more information by June 29. That’s the deadline for when those with a player option in their contracts need to decide if they are opting out of their contract.