As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Kyrie Irving reportedly has met with the Cleveland Cavaliers front office last week and requested a trade. The news also comes with the notion that Irving is seeking an opportunity where he can be the focal point of an offense and does not want to continue to play alongside Lebron James. The news comes within the mix of the Cavaliers promoting assistant GM Koby Altman to the GM role. The Cavaliers chose to forgo extending former GM David Griffin’s contract last month as the Cavaliers were in talks of trading for Paul George.
Some of the teams Irving is rumored to favor are New York, Minnesota, San Antonio and Miami. Per Irving’s agent, “Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Jeff Wechsler told ESPN. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”
While it seems the NBA’s landscape looks entirely different the Cavaliers have made a few quiet moves this summer. The Golden State Warriors kept their core super team in power by signing Stephen Curry to a supermax deal and Kevin Durant to a two-year deal. The neighboring Boston Celtics acquired Gordon Hayward in free agency, the Houston Rockets acquired Chris Paul via trade, and the Minnesota Timberwovles received Jimmy Butler from Chicago. The Cavaliers summer has only been signing free agents Jeff Green and Jose Calderon in addition to re-signing Kyle Korver. Cleveland also signed Turkish forward Cedi Osman to a three-year deal.
Should the Cavaliers attempt to pull the trigger early and trade Irving prior to the start of the 2017-2018 season here are a few ideas that might make sense for each team.
San Antonio Spurs
In this deal, the Cavaliers get rid of the Tristian Thompson contract and could potentially be renting LaMarcus Aldridge for one year. Aldridge would have one year remaining and could opt out and leave Cleveland to seek another opportunity elsewhere. Previously, it has been that the Spurs are placing Aldridge up on the trade block, uncertain if he would sign long-term. The risk but the high reward is that Lebron James has an All-Star next to Kevin Love. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would the Cavaliers need two big men? As teams begin to play smaller the Cavaliers could play Aldridge at the center spot and have Love play his traditional stretch-four position. Danny Green is a filler who will also have a player option in 2018. This could free up cap space for the Cavaliers should this go awry and the rest button is the next best choice.
New York Knicks
This wild thought isn’t Rihanna here. However, LeBron is close with Eric Bledsoe and Carmelo Anthony is a banana boat buddy. This could be the savior for the Cavaliers not to lose a direction of contending for a championship. The Suns will have to take on the salary dump of J.R. Smith and Frye would be expiring as he has one year left. Throw a few draft picks their way to call it a deal. The Knicks reunite with Tyson Chandler who the Suns have previously tried to move. The Knicks would get Irving as their centerpiece next to Kristaps Porzingas.
If the Miami Heat is a team Irving is strongly considering then there isn’t a whole lot that can be offered for Cleveland unless a third team is involved. Straight up the Cavaliers can obtain Goran Dragic and Justice Winslow. The Heat also has a 2019 and 2020 first-round pick they can send to Cleveland or another destination if a third team is in play. The Cavaliers would have to take on an aging Dragic but also locked into a three-year deal still. Not a favorable deal for Cleveland and they may want to include a third team to recruit more talent their way.
Since the Timberwolves just signed Jeff Teague to a three-year deal this summer they will have to wait until December 15th before they can trade him. If the Cavaliers can hold off and would prefer to send Irving to the Western Conference and out of the East then, Minnesota would be a preferred destination. It is rumored that Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns both are actively recruiting Irving. The chances of Irving heading to Minnesota would be low if a third team cannot be brought it and the Cavaliers would like to make a deal done before the summer is over.
With Danny Ainge stockpiling assets Boston is always going to be in the mix for potential trade destinations. Since John Wall has just signed his four-year extension with the Wizards it is now unlikely that he will be moved. As this news comes with shock there could be many other teams that come out of left field and become involved.