UA-59049186-1 Potential Trade Scenarios For Kyrie Irving - Good if it Goes

Potential Trade Scenarios For Kyrie Irving

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after scoring in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Reports and allegations have run a muck involving certain Cleveland Cavalier players and the gist of it is this, Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland. I will not harp on the reasons why or whether or not he will or will not be traded or if the relationship can be repaired. You can simply go to ESPN or many other sports media outlets for the latest on all of that. I strictly want to discuss what viable trade options would be out there for the Cavaliers if they indeed did decide to trade Kyrie and what their mindset might be when looking to get a deal done for him. The way I see it the Cavs have two ways they can go about trying to trade Irving. Option A and the most likely is to make the deal that best leaves them in a position to compete for a title this season and makes Lebron happy in an effort to convince him to resign next offseason. Option B would be to assume that Lebron will either leave or be prepared to put the franchise in the best position to move forward without Lebron if he does leave. These are two very different approaches that would result in very different packages and asking prices from various teams they might talk to. If the Cavs go with the latter option most likely they would be looking to get back young pieces and draft picks which do not maximize the team’s chances to win a title in 2018 but sets them up better for the future. If they go with the first option they most likely will be looking to swap Kyrie with a veteran of equal or close value that can help them win now and that fits well with Lebron. The problem with that is you get an older player and if Lebron leaves you are not in as good of a position to rebuild. I personally would go with option B but we know the Cavs are all about doing any and everything they can to appease Lebron and are terrified of him leaving again so if they do try and trade Irving I would expect them to pursue it with the option A mindset. I will examine what I believe would be the best three deals they could make for both options.

 

Option A scenarios

Proposed Trade with New Orleans Pelicans (Midseason)

  • Pelicans receive PG. Kyrie Irving, C. Tristan Thompson, SG. Iman Shumpert
  • Cavaliers receive C. Demarcus Cousins, PG. Jrue Holiday

First point of order if this deal was going to happen it would have to be done during the season as players who sign new contracts as free agents cannot be traded until December 15 so that would disqualify Holiday from being traded at the moment as he just inked a new five year deal. However, this could potentially be a great deal for both teams and not doing it until games have been played actually makes sense for both teams as well. From the Cavs point of view they have all the leverage in regards to Irving and can simply decide not to trade him at the moment and go into the season and see how it all plays out. They could give Lebron and Irving a few months to see if they could co-exist and figure it out and if not then broach this trade with the Pelicans. The Pelicans also need more time to actually see if the Cousins/Davis experiment can work and if it is not going well then they would be incredibly motivated to move Cousins who is in the last year of his deal and most likely would not resign with the Pelicans if things are not working.

As for on the court fit this trade works because it gives the Pelicans an elite perimeter scoring threat to pair with Davis which would work better in today’s NBA than two dominant big men. Kyrie might not be better than Davis but with him being a PG and Davis being a big he would no doubt be the primary ball handler which is something he really wants. It also gives them Thompson who is a strong rebounding big to replace Cousins and help make things easier for Davis in the paint. Shumpert could also provide needed depth at the SG position. As for the Cavs it helps open up the court even more by swapping Thompson who cannot shoot outside of the paint with Cousins who can hit 3s. The Cavs could essentially play five out at times and with Lebron’s passing ability combined with his ability to get to the rim that could be a major problem for opposing defenses. Also the pickup of Jrue Holiday would be a very good fit alongside Lebron. If the Cavs trade Kyrie the last thing they need is Derrick Rose being promoted to the starting lineup given his inability to shoot. Holiday can be a three and D option who will pack a lot more punch on the defensive end which the Cavs need for when they meet the Warriors again in the finals. And as an added bonus this trade would save the Cavs money in luxury tax as they would be shedding just under two million dollars in salary and for a team that is paying as much as they are every little bit helps.

Proposed Trade with Celtics 

  • Celtics receive PG. Kyrie Irving,
  • Cavaliers receive PG. Isaiah Thomas, PF. Marcus Morris, PG. Marcus Smart, 2019 1st round pick (Grizzlies)

This is a trade that could be pulled off right now if both teams were interested. I think it benefits both teams. For the Celtics you upgrade at PG from Thomas to Irving and do so without giving up any of your top future assets such as the Nets/Lakers picks or Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum. An even bigger deal is that the Celtics would be able to avoid giving Thomas a max deal next offseason while not getting worse at the position. They would also have Kyrie on the cheap for two more seasons. Most likely a team is going to overpay on an offer sheet to Smart so the Celtics are not likely to retain him after this season so losing him is not a big deal either. And they only picked up Morris so that they would not lose Bradley for nothing. The Grizzlies at worst are late lottery team in 2019 so you lose a few picks but no top 10 picks. All in all it would be a worthy haul to give up to get a player like Kyrie while also avoiding having to pay Thomas a five year max contract.

The Cavs also benefit from this trade in that if they make it they still win the East and are actually a little better equipped to deal with the Warriors. Thomas having to defend steph scares me as I am sure it would Cleveland if approached by this deal but if you are the Cavs and you feel you have to move Irving no matter what this is a great deal under those circumstances. You replace Irving with another all-star PG who can light it up and you get a versatile defender in Smart who would definitely helps against the Warriors as he could spend time guarding any combination of Steph, Klay and Durant. Morris would also be a good fit as the Cavs desperately need better depth on the front line and Morris would be a better fit when trying to matchup against the Warriors death lineup than Thompson as he is more athletic and can shoot threes.

 

Option B scenarios

Proposed Trade with Suns (Midseason)

  • Suns receive PG. Kyrie Irving, SG. Iman Shumpert, SF. Kyle Korver
  • Cavaliers receive PG. Eric Bledsoe, SF. TJ Warren, PF. Marquese Chriss, SF. Jared Dudley

The Suns are already on record that Josh Jackson is untouchable and I imagine they feel the same about Devin Booker. With that in mind the best young assets they have to offer are Chriss and Warren both of whom would be good assets for the Cavs. The Cavs would also get a pretty good PG to replace Irving in the lineup for the short term and they swap a three year contract of Korver (which because he just signed he cannot be traded until Dec. 15)  for only two years of Dudley, thus freeing up cap space sooner. Overall the Cavs would shed over $6 million in salary on this trade as well. For the Suns the benefit is simple they get a top 20 player in his prime who actually figures to be a good fit on a team that wants to play fast. It is a steep price to pay for the Suns admittedly but you have to give a little to get a little and if the Suns could somehow pull this deal off I think it would speed up the rebuilding process while also making them more attractive to other free agents down the road.

Proposed Trade with Bucks

  • Bucks receive PG. Kyrie Irving, SF. Richard Jefferson, PF. Channing Fyre, PG. Kay Felder,
  • Cavaliers receive SF. Jabari Parker, PG. Malcom Brogdon, C. John Henson, C. Spencer Hawes, PF. D.J. Wilson

This is another good trade for the Cavs if they want to start looking to get younger and rebuild. They get a potential future star in Parker and two other young pieces with a ton of upside in last year’s rookie of the year Brogdon and the Bucks first round pick in this year’s draft Wilson who is an athletic big with stretch potential. They also get younger more productive players in Henson and Hawes who’s contracts are needed to make the math work while getting rid of Jefferson and Fyre. For the Bucks they get a star scoring PG in Kyrie Irving and would instantly become a threat to win the East and would be the development of Maker away from having their own big four potentially which is what would be required to have any chance to take down the vaunted Warriors.

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