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Report: Lakers ‘disinterested’ in pursuing Kyrie Irving as free agent

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NBA writer Sam Amick talks about NBA MVP voting and how even though it is a regular season award, there is some weight taken from postseason performances.

It was not subtle. Kyrie Irving was sitting courtside in Crypto.com Arena for the Lakers Game 6 against the Grizzlies — a game that if the Lakers lost likely would mean the end of their season. LeBron dapped up Irving pregame and it was hard not to remember Irving is a free agent this summer, and there were rumors LeBron had expressed interest in him coming to Los Angeles.

By the fourth quarter, when the Lakers had made the game a laugher and turned it into garbage time, Irving got up and left the arena. Maybe with the sense these Lakers — as constructed with moves at the All-Star break to add size and shooting — don’t need him. These Lakers don’t plan to pursue Irving this summer, reports Joe Varden at The Athletic.

And no matter how close Irving might be to James, the Lakers are disinterested in pursuing him in free agency, say league sources, who like all unnamed sources in this article were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. To acquire him would require jettisoning several deadline acquisitions who have helped revitalize their season and land them in a second-round series against the Golden State Warriors.

That is the smart move.

Whatever happens with the Lakers series against the Warriors starting Tuesday, it will not dramatically alter their postseason path — the Lakers found something that works around LeBron James and Anthony Davis and they are going to run it back. It could cost a lot to keep Austin Reaves the way he is playing, but they can match any offer (he is an Arenas Rule free agent) and he is too valuable now for them to let him walk (the ghost of Alex Caruso impacts that decision).

Irving likely re-signs with the Mavericks. Irving may not find the market for his services he might hope for, and the Mavericks want him back.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks, team sources say, remain optimistic about their ability to re-sign Irving this summer after trading for him in February with the intention of a long-term partnership with Luka Dončić — and it is, league sources say, the expectation other teams have as well. While Dallas went 5-11 when Dončić and Irving played together, this catastrophic season had begun long before Irving’s arrival. And its ultimate failure, with the team resting starters in the final two games to maximize draft positioning, didn’t shake the team’s belief in what that duo can be.

The interesting question with Irving is not the salary — he’s a max player, which in his case likely will start at $46 million a season — but how many years? Teams don’t want to go past two, Irving obviously will want four. Do the Mavericks and Irving settle on three?

Whether Irving and Luka Dončić work out remains to be seen, but Irving staying in Dallas rather than moving to Los Angeles is a good bet.