For LeBron James, the chance to team up once again with his former teammate Kyrie Irving on the Los Angeles Lakers has been a desire since the offseason. It seemed more possible as the team made an offer when Irving requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets last Friday (Feb. 3). But the Nets ultimately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks with the deal becoming official Monday (Feb. 6). James would soon cryptically tweet, “Maybe it’s me” as word of the deal went public.
Sitting down for an interview with reporter Michael Wilbon for the NBA on ESPN, James was candid. “I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent,” James said. “Someone I had great chemistry with, I know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships in my mind, in my eyes. But my focus has shifted now, my focus has shifted back to where it should be and that’s this club now, and what we have now.”
Wilbon responded with surprise, “That’s a quick pivot LeBron.” The four-time league MVP agreed, saying “I don’t get too excited about the possibilities of things that can be. I kind of envision myself on what it can, but I don’t invest it all the way into it until I know it’s happening and when it does not happen, I’m back locked in on the job at hand.”
James and Irving were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2017, reaching the Finals in all three years and winning the franchise’s only title over the Golden State Warriors in 2016.
James is on the verge of breaking the all-time scoring record, held by former Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The current Lakers team, however, has been the source of constant discussion as they sit at 13th in the Western Conference despite another tremendous All-Star season from the 38-year-old forward. James has reportedly been pushing the team’s front office to make moves to improve the roster to make the playoffs as center Anthony Davis has struggled with injuries and Russell Westbrook has been shifted to a role off the bench.