Lakers confident Irving will contemplate coming in free agency

Kyrie Irving could end up back with the Celtics, but as a free agent, could end up somewhere else, too.

It’s the NBA’s offseason which means it’s the season for a LeBron James-led team to begin its recruiting efforts.

And James’ Los Angeles Lakers clearly do not intend to stop after the trade for New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. Instead, the Lakers are seeking a third star via free agency — and yes, Kyrie Irving is among the targets, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Irving is opting out of his contract with the Boston Celtics and entering free agency. Those around the league seem to believe he is headed to the Brooklyn Nets. And if not Brooklyn, then back to Boston. And if not back to Boston, then maybe to the New York Knicks.

But per Amick, citing a source close to James, the Lakers are confident Irving will give them a shot.

Irving and James won a title together with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. Irving demanded a trade one year after that, seemingly because he wanted to get out of James’ shadow. James was admittedly stunned.

Now, reports say the two are on solid ground again — and that Irving has wanted to play alongside Davis for quite some time. Irving is also a huge fan of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and often dreamed of playing in LA because of it.

Granted, the Lakers will be linked to every major free agent and will James’ camp will make their recruiting efforts known via the media. They will tell reporters the Lakers are “confident” they can land just about anyone, and reporters will quickly print or say it.

But the idea of Irving joining the Lakers may be more than just another manufactured rumor by James and the Lakers. Given Irving’s quirkiness and the fact the Lakers would be the hands-down favorites to win the title with him added to the roster … well, you just never know.

Irving and the Celtics were bounced by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics reached the East finals the previous season when Irving was injured.