The NBA offseason rumor mill picked up on Monday with The Athletic’s Shams Charania reporting that Kyrie Irving had reached out to LeBron James about joining the Dallas Mavericks next season. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report added on to that by reporting that Irving wants the Mavs to explore a trade for James to officially set up a “Big 3” alongside star guard Luka Doncic.
Could Dallas make this James-Irving-Doncic “superteam” a reality this offseason? The answer...highly unlikely. For starters, Irving in an unrestricted free agent and the Mavericks would need to sign him to a long-term deal. Next, James still has one year on left on his current deal with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $46.9 million, as well as a player option for the following season worth $50.6 million. According to Haynes’ reporting, the new CBA would make it extremely difficult for the Mavs to have three max players under contract at the same time. That would require Irving and James to take a significant pay cut and for Doncic to agree to restructure his contract and take less money. Throw in the insane amount of trade assets the Mavs would have to give up just to acquire the NBA’s all-time scoring leader and this “Big 3” dream is dead on arrival.
As former teammates with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a possible reunion between James and Irving has been rumored for the past few seasons. James reportedly pushed for the Lakers to trade for the All-NBA guard at the trade deadline in February and the team came close before the Mavs ultimately acquired his services. Monday’s report could be a case of Irving simultaneously expressing his desire to join James in L.A. while putting pressure on Dallas to lock him into a long-term deal. We’ll see how this plays out over the next few weeks.