LeBron James said he was “definitely disappointed” the Lakers were not able to acquire star point guard Kyrie Irving over the weekend after Irving requested a trade from the Nets late last week.
Instead, the Mavericks swooped in with an aggressive offer and landed Irving, as well as veteran forward Markieff Morris, to pair alongside All-Star Luka Dončić. Dallas sent back a package that included Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick and second-round picks in ’27 and ’29 to Brooklyn in the deal.
Though the Mavericks were ultimately the winners of the sweepstakes, the Lakers–as well as the Suns and Clippers–were also reportedly in pursuit of Irving after the eight-time All-Star asked out of Brooklyn following a breakdown in contract extension talks with the franchise. The Lakers weren’t able to strike a deal, much to the chagrin of James, but he explained that he’s already looking to move forward with his team as it’s currently constructed.
“Well I’m definitely disappointed. I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent but someone that I had great chemistry with and know that I have great chemistry with that can help you win championships in my mind,” James said of Irving in an interview with ESPN’s Mike Wilbon. “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 in the locker room now.”
James took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon and posted a cryptic tweet that read “Maybe it’s me,” but gave no further indication that the message was about the Irving trade. During Monday’s interview, the 38-year-old made clear that he didn’t spend too much time worrying about the situation, as it was only a hypothetical scenario for him and the Lakers.
“I don’t get too excited about the possibility of things that can be. I kinda envision myself on what it can [be]. But I don’t invest all the way into it until I know it’s happening” James said. “And when it does not happen, I’m back locked in on the job at hand.”
For James, that job is boosting the Lakers (25–29) back into the postseason picture in a crowded Western Conference playoff race. In the more immediate future, the 20-year veteran is in pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring mark and needs just 36 more points to break the league record.