A reunion between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James may be on the table this offseason, just not in the way that many initially expected.
While Irving's impending free agency has caused many to speculate that he could move on from Dallas, both The Athletic's Shams Charania and Turner Sports' Chris Haynes have reported that Irving is pushing for the Mavericks to make a move to acquire James this offseason.
According to Charania, Irving has reached out to James to see if he would come to Dallas.
Haynes' detailed report included the fact that Irving wants Dallas to explore a trade, adding that the "Mavericks were preparing to make an offer for James last season when the Lakers were spiraling," before LA made a number of moves to turn its season around at the deadline.
Over the course of his 20-year career, James has played out the life of each of his contracts, meaning he has never moved on prior to becoming a free agent. Will that change now?
Here is the situation revolving around the latest LeBron rumor.
Is LeBron James a free agent?
James is under contract with the Lakers for the 2023-24 season, so he cannot currently sign with the Mavericks outright. Haynes, however, did report that there is an unlikely scenario in which James could reach a contract buyout agreement with the Lakers, making him a free agent if he clears waivers.
LeBron James contract details
James is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Lakers. He has a player option he could decline for the 2024-25 season to become an unrestricted free agent. As it stands, James will be the NBA's third-highest-paid player during the 2023-24 season, which will be his 21st in the NBA.
It is worth noting that James hinted at retirement after the Lakers were eliminated in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.
|LeBron James||$46.9 million||$50.7 million (PO)||UFA|
PO = Player Option
UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent
Kyrie Irving contract details
After earning $36.5 million during the 2022-23 season, Irving is an unrestricted free agent in the 2023 offseason. According to Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus, Irving is eligible to sign a five-year deal worth up to $272 million.
Irving will turn 32 during the 2023-24 season and is likely due for one more big payday in his career. Irving would need to take a significant pay cut in order to help facilitate a deal for James, something that does not seem likely.
Before re-signing Irving, the Mavericks have eight players under contract for the 2023-24 season. Christian Wood and Dwight Powell are Dallas' other two free agents of note, as the two were the team's fifth and sixth highest-paid players, respectively, last season.
|Luka Doncic||$40.1 million|
|Tim Hardaway Jr.||$17.9 million|
|Davis Bertans||$17.0 million|
|Maxi Kleber||$11.0 million|
|Reggie Bullock||$10.5 million (PG)|
|JaVale McGee||$5.8 million|
|Josh Green||$4.8 million|
|Jaden Hardy||$1.7 million|
PG = Partially Guaranteed
It is worth noting that the Mavericks were preparing a trade offer for James last season as they do have players making significant money with respect to salary matching, but as outlined by Haynes, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players' association makes having three max players on the same team virtually impossible.