First things first: The Los Angeles Lakers are currently an unmitigated disaster.
Expected to try and challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference after landing LeBron James, the Purple and Gold bottomed out in the second half of the season, causing James to miss the playoffs for the first time since his second season in the NBA. Then, Magic Johnson abruptly quit as president of basketball operations. Head coach Luke Walton and the team agreed to part ways, allowing Walton to land the head coaching job with the Kings.
The Warriors, all the while, continue their march to a third-straight NBA title. Things got tougher Wednesday, though, as the Dubs will be without Kevin Durant for the remainder of their second-round NBA playoff series with the Rockets after the two-time NBA Finals MVP suffered a right calf strain in Game 5.
Things are still much better in the Bay than L.A., obviously.
The Lakers appeared to have their next head coach all but locked up, but negotiations with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue fell through reportedly due to contract demands and the Lakers' desire for him to have Jason Kidd as an assistant coach on his staff.
But, what if there is another reason talks between Lue and the Lakers fell apart?
On the latest episode of "The Bill Simmons Podcast," the Ringer CEO mentioned a rumor that he's heard since Lue and the Lakers agreed to go their separate ways.
"The rumor mill is fantastic," Simmons said during a conversation with longtime Celtics radio play-by-play announcer Sean Grande. "I don't mind passing along various things I've heard, including, somebody told me that Ty Lue -- the Lakers had to back out of the Ty Lue thing because Ty Lue and Kyrie, they couldn't be together again and Kyrie's going to go there and that's why that fell through. Not because of the contract. I have no idea if that's true or not but that's going to be the next two months of my life."
First of all, it should be noted that Simmons admits he doesn't know if it's true, but that's the very definition of a rumor,
Now, whispers of Irving potentially joining the Lakers began after Irving told reporters he called James to apologize for the way he acted upon his exit from the Cavs. Those rumors have grown louder over the last few months.
[RELATED: Recent sense among Warriors that KD might stay]
With Irving and the Celtics being bounced from the second round of the playoffs by the Bucks on Wednesday, the speculation about his future will only intensify from here on out.
Irving, who is best friends with Durant, has been rumored to be a target of the Knicks as New York dreams of pairing the two stars together this offseason. But the Lakers could throw a huge wrench in the Knicks' plans by swiping Irving once free agency begins.
It does seem highly unlikely that the Lakers are going about their head coaching search based on the thought that Irving wants to reunite with James. But we all know teams don't wait until the season is over to start contacting potential free agents (even if they are supposed to), and with Irving and James' relationship healed, perhaps it truly is a done deal.
If Irving does choose to sign with the Lakers, that could impact the decision of Durant who many believe desires to play with his good friend next season. With no other superstar to pair up with in New York, would Durant leave the Dubs to play with Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and potentially Zion Williamson? Seem unlikely.
Irving heading to Tinseltown could both make the Lakers more of a threat to the Warriors but also could allow the Dubs to convince Durant to stay. Real double-edged sword.
Of course, the Lakers landing a star free agent is far from a guarantee. The legendary franchise has been run more like a carnival of late, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Lakers whiff in free agency and be left searching for a way to compete in the final years of James' prime.