Kyrie Irving has demanded a trade out of Cleveland. He said his preferred destinations are the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns have been linked to Kyrie as well. Let’s explore each of these teams possibilities of landing Kyrie Irving.
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 2%
It is not the fact that the Timberwolves do not have the assets because they certainly do. They have plenty of young players and draft picks to be involved in any trade. However, the question is: Why would they? The Timberwolves have had a tremendous off season so far. They added Jeff Teague at Point Guard, while moving Ricky Rubio out of town. They made a huge splash when they acquired Jimmy Butler from the Bulls. They also added veteran players Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford to add some much needed depth. The Cavs will most likely ask for Andrew Wiggins or Karl Anthony-Towns. The Timberwolves should not even think about parting ways with either of them for Kyrie. The Timberwolves are on the rise and adding Kyrie may just put a dent into their plans. Stay away Minnesota, stay away!
San Antonio Spurs
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 5%
Who would they give up? The only thing they have going for them is that they own all of their future first round picks, but then again it is unlikely that those picks will even be in the top 20. The only intriguing young player on their roster is Dejounte Murray. Murray is not even that intriguing and there is a huge drop off after him. Will Kyrie mesh will with Kawhi? Who knows. He does not like being the second option behind Lebron. I can bet he would not like being the second option behind a player who is a bit lower than Lebron (not saying Kawhi is a bad player, he just is not Lebron). The Spurs are also all about ball movement. Kyrie likes to play with the ball in his hands a lot. He does not look like a Pop player. It is unlikely the Spurs make a move for him or even have the assets to do so.
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 15%
The Celtics have added a much needed Power Forward in Marcus Morris and have added superstar Gordon Hayward. They did lose Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley, but I think their additions outweigh their departures. They have had a solid off season and look like a team that can contend with the Cavs for the Eastern Conference title. Trading for Kyrie Irving will most likely mean departing with beloved Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has become a fan favorite and a dynamic scorer. We will see how he meshes with Morris and Hayward, but he plays well for Brad Stevens and has great chemistry with the rest of the team. Yes, Irving is the better player. However, I do not see the Celtics wanting to mess with a good thing.
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 45%
Miami is one of Kyrie’s preferred destinations and he would undoubtedly be their number one option. The only problem is could they put together a big enough package to outbid the Knicks and the Suns? The Cavs may ask for Goran Dragic, Justice Winslow and the Heat’s 2020 first round pick. Dragic would slot into the starting Point Guard spot for the Cavs and Winslow will be a great defensive piece off the bench. It will also give them the ability to move Shumpert, which they have been trying to do for a bit now. I think the Heat’s chances are slimmer just because their package won’t be as luxurious as the others.
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 70%
Phoenix is not one of the destinations where Kyrie would prefer, but I think he should reconsider that. Phoenix said they are not willing to give up Josh Jackson in any trade with Kryrie and I do not think they have to. I think a package of Eric Bledsoe, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss and their 2018 first round pick would be really tempting for the Cavaliers. Bledsoe, Warren and Chriss are all young players than can make an impact now and possibly down the line. Lebron may leave after this year and the Cavs will be let with just Kevin Love. They can look to build around Love, Bledsoe, Chriss and the player they can pick with Phoenix’s pick. By acquiring Kyrie, the Suns now can put out a starting lineup of: Kyrie, Booker, Jackson, Bender and Chandler. Chandler is the only piece in that lineup that is over 25 years older. The Suns do give up their 2018 first round pick, but still own Miami’s 2018 first round pick. The Suns would be a much better team by adding Kyrie and can still build on their future.
New York Knicks
Chances of landing Kyrie Irving: 85%
The Knicks are my favorite to land Kyrie Irving. The only reason I am not fully sold on them is because they are still in talks to trade Carmelo to Houston. Carmelo is willing to waive his NTC to play with the Cavs as well, but he seems to have his mind set on playing with Houston as of now. The Cavaliers would receive a package of Carmelo Anthony, Frank Ntilikina and the Knicks 2018 first round pick. That pick has a very good chance of being top 10, albeit the Knicks would likely have the pick at least top 5 protected. The Cavs would have to give up one of Frye or Jefferson to take on Carmelo’s contract, but I’m sure they would be willing to do so. The Knicks are the only team that will be willing to give up a superstar in exchange for Kyrie. Lebron is also very close friends with Carmelo Anthony, which can help this trade happen. The Knicks would be very happy pairing up Kyrie with Porzingis and can hope to keep adding pieces through the draft. Kyrie would also be the number one option with the Knicks. If the Knicks cannot strike a deal to send Melo to Houston do not be surprised to see this deal happen.