Kyrie Irving is one of the top NBA free agents in 2023 and is expected to field enough offers to remain one of the highest-paid NBA players. However, there is significant uncertainty regarding what team Irving will play for next year.
The Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to sign Irving. He maintains a close relationship with LeBron James and attended the Lakers’ playoff games before they were eliminated. But Dallas wants to re-sign him after it acquired him before the NBA trade deadline, sacrificing a future first-round pick to acquire him.
Dallas holds one significant advantage over other NBA teams interested in Irving. The Mavericks can offer him a max contract worth $272.9 million over five years, whereas other interested teams can offer him less than $212 million.
- Kyrie Irving stats (2022-’23): 27.1 PPG, 5.5 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 49.4% FG
While it gives Dallas a significant advantage, Irving has been coy about what he’s looking for in NBA free agency. While there is still some level of appeal to signing with Los Angeles, it appears to be a longshot to happen.
Lakers’ reporter Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote that the Lakers have approximately a “10 to 15 percent” chance of signing Irving.
There are several reasons why it’s viewed as unlikely that Irving signs with the Lakers. Among them, Los Angeles is making it a bigger priority to re-sign Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. With the money poised to be spent on both players, Los Angeles wouldn’t have the cap space to sign Irving.
While the Lakers could pursue a sign-and-trade, it’s not an option Dallas is willing to consider. It could result in Los Angeles bowing out of the mix for Irving quickly, providing the Mavericks with the leverage to sign him to a deal for less than the max level.