Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are reportedly at an "impasse" regarding their future working relationship, leading to the possibility of the point guard entering free agency.
Irving has until June 29 to accept or decline a $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season. If he walks, the 30-year-old may reunite with LeBron James.
On Wednesday's episode of NBA Today, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski said the Los Angeles Lakers "are considered the most significant threat right now for Kyrie."
However, he also noted that Irving's options are "limited" beyond Brooklyn unless the Nets work out a sign-and-trade. Given the Lakers' current cap situation, Irving would currently have to take a major pay cut and sign a $6 million taxpayer exemption to join the Lakers.
The Athletic's Shams Charania also listed the Lakers as a likely suitor along with the Clippers and New York Knicks. Yet he said Irving opting in with the Nets and pushing a trade is the "the likely path" to realigning with his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate.
One would also imagine such a move would require the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook, who will make $47 million in the final season of his supermax contract. It's difficult to imagine both All-Star scorers gelling in the same backcourt.
Brian Windhorst said on NBA Today that many around the league believe Irving will stay in Brooklyn "on some sort of contract." But he acknowledged that the unconventional star could "truly scare" the Nets by opting out of his contract and indicating he's willing to sacrifice significant money to sign elsewhere.
Staying with the Nets makes the most financial sense, but Irving may desire another chance of scenery.