Stephen A. Smith: Kyrie Irving wants to re-join LeBron James on Lakers as soon as he possibly can

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With the Brooklyn Nets about to blow up their roster in the wake of Kevin Durant’s trade demand Thursday, Kyrie Irving appears on his way out the door, too. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported on air Thursday that Irving wants to re-join LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers “as soon as he possibly can.” “He’s been telling people he wants to be in L.A., he’s been telling people he wants to wear the same uniform that Kobe Bryant once wore,” Smith said.
Source: Adam Zagoria @ Newark Star-Ledger

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Adi Joseph @AdiJoseph
I don’t know a single person who became a Nets fan because they got Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but I see the straw men are getting burned on the timeline today. – 5:23 PM

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria
Now on @njdotcom
NBA rumors: Kyrie Irving wants to re-join LeBron James with the Lakers ‘as soon as he possibly can’…5:20 PM

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
I think we’re going to hear Kyrie Irving linked to Dallas now because Jalen Brunson is leaving whether or not the Mavericks are really interested.
They might be, but even if they aren’t, it behooves the Nets to pretend there are serious suitors just for leverage with the Lakers. – 5:11 PM

Sam Amick @sam_amick
Everything you need to know about the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, at @TheAthletic
Intel and insight on possible destinations, the Brooklyn fallout, the Kyrie Irving component and more, with @John Hollinger, @Joe Vardon and @Alex__Schiffer…5:06 PM

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA
I wanna see KD and Kyrie get traded together just to see how in the hell a team matches $79.5M in salary in a trade. – 4:56 PM

Tom Westerholm @Tom_NBA
There is absolutely no reason for the Nets to accommodate KD and Kyrie by trading them to the same team and also no reason a team would want both of them. – 4:54 PM

Jake Fischer @JakeLFischer
“This gives the Lakers their best chance at Kyrie.”
On Kevin Durant’s desired landing spots in Phoenix and Miami, what Brooklyn will need to part with the Hall of Famer, and a how this could help Los Angeles’ quest to land Kyrie Irving, all at @BR_NBA:…4:44 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
“We’re that good”
Harden said on Jan 12 after the Nets, with KD/Kyrie, dominated the Bulls.
Just over 5 months later — Brooklyn’s title hopes are gone. This team packed more drama into 5 months than most teams do in 5 years. And the drama ultimately overwhelmed the organization – 4:37 PM

Emiliano Carchia @Sportando
Mavericks expected to “aggressively” pursue Kyrie Irving…4:27 PM

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix
A team with young talent, a cache of draft picks and a GM unafraid to take big swings: Minnesota. ‘Wolves won’t be on Durant’s wish list, but I’m interested to see if Tim Connelly, who once eyed LeBron in Denver, gets into the mix. – 4:22 PM

Greg Dickerson @gregdickerson13
I won’t feel badly for Any team that eventually trades for kyrie, they will get exactly what they deserve…they should know better – 4:20 PM

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz
One of many things affecting Heat’s Durant chances – and this organization lives for moments like this (Zo, Shaq, LeBron) – is whether Ayton would be agreeable to go to Brooklyn. If not, Heat could put together better offer, even without Bam. – 4:08 PM

Steve Bulpett @SteveBHoop
People were thinking Kevin Durant would be staying put in Brooklyn once Kyrie opted in to the final year of his contract with the Nets…
But KD decided to get a little “Rowdy” PM

Alex Raskin @RaskinDailyMail
Sacramento should offer a second-round pick and salary filler for Kyrie Irving just to see how mad the #Nets are at him – 4:00 PM

Chris Sheridan @sheridanhoops
With Kevin Durant’s trade request, Brooklyn #Nets immediately dropped from 7-1 to 25-1 to win 2023 #NBA championship. (Should be 100-1). #Clippers still co-favorites with #Warriors and #Suns for title. Durant remains 10-1 to win MVP. Kyrie Irving 100-1 and higher. – 3:58 PM

James Boyd @RomeovilleKid
The fallout from Kyrie Irving remaining unvaccinated has been remarkable, honestly. – 3:53 PM

NBA Math @NBA_Math
Got thoughts on the Kevin Durant trade request? The Nets? Kyrie Irving?
COME SHARE THEM WITH @HardwoodKnocks ⬇️ PM

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
Woj, on ESPN, says “it’s likely that not only Kevin Durant, but also Kyrie Irving, has played his last game with Brooklyn.” – 3:47 PM

Alan Hahn @alanhahn
Props to @Brian Windhorst for being all over the Nets stuff, from the Harden-Simmons deal to the franchise ready to accept losing KD for their hard stance with Kyrie. Windy knows, man! @ESPNNBA3:42 PM

Nick Wright @getnickwright
The Lakers getting Kyrie is now (as @Brian Windhorst has repeatedly said) a *very* real possibility.
Brooklyn doesn’t want him w/o Durant & there is going to be very little market for him unless it’s somewhere he wants to go. I’d imagine he ends up in DAL or LA. – 3:42 PM

Joe Cowley @JCowleyHoops
Congrats to Kyrie Irving, who has now killed his third organization … and counting … – 3:41 PM

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
Kyrie Irving is priority No. 1 for the Lakers right now, but…
I’ve settled on Mo Bamba as my favorite MLE target. I want to protect AD’s health by playing him at PF, but I also just think AD is gonna defend top wings better in the playoffs than any MLE player they could target – 3:38 PM

Jeff Eisenband @JeffEisenband
Kyrie: “I’m staying with the Nets.”

Aaron J. Fentress @AaronJFentress
So, let’s say the Nets trade Kyrie then trade Durant but not to Portland.
Then the Nets decide to deal Ben Simmons.
Should the Blazers get in on that? I say, absolutely. But DO NOT give up Anfernee Simons.
He is cheaper, a shooter, more mature and uses up one less m. – 3:34 PM

Nick Wright @getnickwright
LeBron & AD, PG13 & Kawhi, and KD & Kyrie teamed up in the same Summer.
The Lakers have been largely pilloried by the media in this era. They also won a Championship.
Meanwhile, KD/Kyrie & Kawhi/PG13 played a combined ZERO (0) Finals, or even Conference Finals, games together. – 3:31 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
So is now the time to have the Kyrie Irving talk again or not yet – 3:30 PM

Dan Favale @danfavale
kyrie’s career arc PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Durant playoff win% with Steph:
— 78.6%
Kyrie playoff win% with LeBron:
— 75.0%
Durant playoff win% with Kyrie:
— 46.2% PM

Emiliano Carchia @Sportando
No contact with the Nets from Durant and Irving since Kyrie opted into his deal…3:26 PM

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed
We’ve got:
@Chris Haynes reporting Kevin Durant has the Suns as his preferred destination
@Quinton Mayo reporting Deandre Ayton to the Suns rumors
– Myself among others reporting Kyrie Irving’s interest in going to the Lakers
What an organizational fumble. – 3:25 PM

Austin Krell @NBAKrell
Would hope the Nets faithful are willing to move off of Kyrie hill now. – 3:25 PM

Mark Deeks @MarkDeeksNBA
Maybe just keep KD and use the stretch provision on Kyrie. – 3:24 PM

Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving trade rumors shuffle equation for Heat, NBA ahead of free agency.…3:24 PM

Matt Williams @StatsWilliams
Kevin Durant ranks 4th all-time in points per game and 1st among active players. He has averaged 25 points in every season of his career except his rookie year.
Most Career PPG
Michael Jordan: 30.1
Wilt Chamberlain: 30.1
Elgin Baylor: 27.4
Kevin Durant: 27.2
LeBron James: 27.1 – 3:24 PM

Frank Isola @TheFrankIsola
Now we know why Kevin Durant had been so quiet the last few days and why he danced around the Kyrie situation on his “new media” podcast. – 3:24 PM

James Boyd @RomeovilleKid
Gotta think Kyrie trades are back on the table as well. – 3:23 PM

Alex Raskin @RaskinDailyMail
Never forget: #Nets signed an over-the-hill DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million deal before benching and trading Jarrett Allen to convince Durant and Irving to sign in Brooklyn. This team scuttled its own rebuilding plan for a Durant/Irving combo and got NOTHING. – 3:22 PM

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
Kyrie: “See you in the fall!!”

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
Remember how 2014 free agency ground to a halt while the whole league waited for LeBron?
Yea, I have to imagine 2022 free agency does the same thing for Durant. Maybe Brunson still goes to the Knicks quickly, but a lot of the other big fish are gonna have to wait for KD. – 3:13 PM

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
– Kevin Durant to the Suns.
– Kyrie Irving to the Lakers.
– Ben Simmons to the Wolves.
– The most insane Western Conference we’ve ever seen. – 3:11 PM

Yaron Weitzman @YaronWeitzman
So, um, who does Kyrie get sent to after? – 3:11 PM

Andrew Sharp @andrewsharp
Kyrie: “See you in the fall. A11even.”
KD: “Wellllll…” – 3:09 PM

Gordon Gross @GMoneyNuggs
I still wanna see Durant go back to OKC. It would just be amazing to me. He could literally rewrite his legacy on the fly, going almost the same route that LeBron did to bring a title to the team that drafted him (well, the zombie Sonics) after rings elsewhere. Not happening tho – 3:06 PM

Steve Popper @StevePopper
I don’t know the inner workings of the Durant and Nets relationship, but I do know if he’s asking out now after kyrie opted in, I think I’d be searching for the best offer, not satisfying Durant’s wish list. – 3:05 PM

Mark Deeks @MarkDeeksNBA
COULD HAVE BEEN: Kyrie, KD, Harden.
ACTUALLY IS: Kyrie, Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale, and Iunno, Duncan Robinson? – 3:05 PM

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had no contact with the franchise after Irving opted into his deal on Monday, and a sense of inevitability existed that Durant would eventually ask for a trade, sources tell ESPN. It happened today. – 3:04 PM

The Ringer @ringernba
Kyrie: “We’re gonna have a special season. I just know it.”

Austin Krell @NBAKrell
Kyrie: “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow. I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall.”
Durant: PM

Wes Goldberg @wcgoldberg
Heat (and a ton of teams) had been preparing for a run at Durant. Kyrie opted in. Things paused. It’s back on. – 2:59 PM

Jake Fischer @JakeLFischer
On Monday, as the league prepared for Kevin Durant to potentially request a trade during the Kyrie opt-in saga, Phoenix and Miami were often mentioned as the All-Star’s perceived favorite landing spots. – 2:58 PM

Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA
Kyrie: I’m renewing my commitment to the Brooklyn Nets.
Simmons: I might be ready to maybe take a jump shot.
KD: I’m out. – 2:57 PM

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson
KD when Kyrie said he’s coming back PM

Aaron Rose @AaronBenRose
Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving didn’t last together? Wow! Who would have thought! – 2:54 PM

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix
Kyrie opts in and KD still wants out. Incredible. With four years left on his deal and Durant, at 34, still playing at an MVP level, Brooklyn could — and should — get back one of the largest trade packages in NBA history. – 2:52 PM

Brian Robb @BrianTRobb
I guess Kyrie opting in didn’t mean anything after all for the Nets. – 2:50 PM

Chris Sheridan @sheridanhoops
Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving is out there at odds as high as 150-1 for MVP. If he is throwing lobs to Ayton ……9:29 AM

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie
Game Theory Podcast: @dieter is here! Some Pre-Free Agency stuff
-Dejounte Murray to ATL!
-What does a potential Jalen Brunson to NYK fit look like?
-Kyrie and Harden options!
-My love for the movie Interceptor!
WATCH:…9:08 AM

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie
We run through all the NBA madness across the league.
-Dejounte Murray deal
-Jalen Brunson
-Kyrie back to Brooklyn
-James Harden taking less?
-Wiz/Nuggets deal
-John Wall!

Lang Greene @LangGreene
Crazy. The two teams KD and Kyrie CHOSE to LEAVE, willingly, just got finished battling in the NBA Finals. – 11:27 PM

Kamenetzky Brothers @KamBrothers
For the sickos who like to watch, Wednesday’s @LockedOnLakers pod, YouTube version. We talk with @Jovan Buha about Russ opting in, the possibility of still trading him, the Lakers-Kyrie talks, Malik Monk’s future and more. @LockedOnNBAPods @LockedOnNetwork…6:26 PM

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed
Nets sold Patty Mills as a culture-driver last season. Tough to see him go. He posted a career-high 11.4 PPG last season but was worn down by the minutes played in the absence of Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Great get by @Brian Lewis6:01 PM

Scott Agness @ScottAgness
In a wide-ranging interview with Lance Stephenson, he discussed:
– Motivation to return & a new perspective
– Change in diet, no more Hooters wings
– Playing in China
– No regrets about leaving to play with LeBron/Lakers
– His kids watching dad play PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Collin Sexton in his last season:
24.3 PPG
3.1 RPG
4.4 APG
LeBron and Kyrie are the only other Cavs with those stats or better in a season. PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Players to average 26+ PPG, 6+ RPG and 6+ APG through the playoffs and regular season:
— LeBron James
— Luka Doncic
That’s it. PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Most PPG by a #1 overall draft pick:
27.4 — Elgin Baylor
27.1 — LeBron James
26.7 — Allen Iverson
25.7 — Zion Williamson
25.7 — Oscar Robertson AM

StatMuse @statmuse
Most PPG by an old guy (35+ years old) this season:
30.3 — LeBron James
14.7 — Chris Paul
13.4 — Kyle Lowry
13.3 — Carmelo Anthony
That’s the most ever by a player over 35. AM

James Edwards III @JLEdwardsIII
I’m not going to lie, I had a theory Kyrie would opt out, go to the Lakers and LBJ would wire him the difference 😂😂😂 – 6:39 PM

More on this storyline


Clutch Points: “There’s not a great appetite for Irving, but that doesn’t mean there’s nobody who will take him. And I do think there are teams who will do it, but it’s a fraction of what’s available for Kevin Durant.” @Adrian Wojnarowski on Kyrie Irving’s trade market. -via Twitter @ClutchPointsApp / June 30, 2022

Now, perhaps Irving could find a way to Los Angeles, while the Nets explore every option on their roster. “This gives the Lakers their best chance at Kyrie,” one team cap strategist said. -via Bleacher Report / June 30, 2022

NBA Central: “It’s certainly a possibility… They want to continue to play together but the sense is they don’t want to do it together in Brooklyn anymore.” – @Adrian Wojnarowski on KD and Kyrie 👀 (h/t @The Jump ) -via Twitter @TheNBACentral / June 30, 2022

Clutch Points: “They could contend, but they won’t beat us.” 🗣️ Draymond Green on a possible Kyrie Irving/LeBron James reunion with the Lakers (via @lucas_shaw) -via Twitter @ClutchPointsApp / June 26, 2022

“Let me tell you, the difference between four [rings] and three may as well be having one and four. It feels so night and day, like the rarefied air that we’re in after winning the fourth one than the third one, it’s just so rare,” Green said. “I was on the phone with ‘Bron the other day, and I’m just telling him like ‘Bruh, going from three to four is insane’ and he was like ‘Yo, I’m telling you, It’s crazy.” -via Clutch Points / June 26, 2022

Paolo Banchero is just one of many to have all these three generational talents on his all-time top 5 players list. Recently, the newest Orlando Magic forward was asked to answer a few rapid-fire questions in a video with Complex Sports. When asked to reveal his all-time top 5 players list, the former Duke Blue Devil revealed (“in no order”): Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. -via The Sports Rush / June 26, 2022


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