Kyrie Irving spotted hanging out with LeBron James in Los Angeles

Rob Pelinka

Free agency doesn't begin in the National Basketball Association until the night of June 30, but for LeBron James, it can't hurt to start recruiting other players to sign with the Lakers this summer.

Most expect Leonard to leave Toronto for Los Angeles, just not for the Lakers.

There are going to be some stars hitting free agency in 2019, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.

This comes after ESPN's Brian Windhorst told Stephen A. Smith, "I think Kyrie is considering the Lakers..."

Take a step back and analyze the situation from Irving's point of view.

Leonard's camp hasn't leaked anything to date and the Lakers, theoretically, are an attractive destination, armed with the cap space to sign two marquee free agents to accompany James this summer.

Especially if Irving wants the media to minimize the spotlight on him, a desire that he made clear last season.

Windhorst notes there is "no tampering enforcement by players", affording James more leeway in conversations with stars under contract. It's far, far from a lock - the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too - but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers' radar. And in a recent report, there are already rumblings that LeBron has begun his pitching to a few of a couple of the big-name free agents. It doesn't hurt that Irving has been mentored by and compared to Kobe Bryant, who played all 20 seasons of his legendary career with the Lakers.