Last week some surprising news broke of Kyrie Irving quitely requesting to be traded from the Cavaliers:
The All-Star point guard reportedly is sick of playing alongside LeBron, who has overshadowed and overpowered Irving since his return to Cleveland a few years back, and it is hard not to blame Kyrie in his request.
Ever since LeBron’s “heroic” return to the Cavs, the franchise has decided that every move they make will revolve around BronBron. There has always been a lot of humor surrounding LeBron being the GM of the Cavaliers, and while that hasn’t ever been true, it is hard to ignore the fact that the franchise continues to and will always continue to do everything in favor of LeBron.
This means acquiring players who will fit around LeBron, hiring management that can flourish and see face to face with LeBron, and making trades that will benefit LeBron…and Kyrie is tired of not receiving that same treatment while putting in what he believes is the equivalent amount of work.
Basically, Kyrie has most likely come to the realization that he is not getting what he deserves. Yes, he has gotten the ring, all the spectacular shots, the ball when he wants it, and the various marketing campaigns, but Kyrie is now expecting more from himself. He has proven he can be a high-caliber and elusive player in the league, but now he must prove he can do it without LeBron by his side.
In fact, the Cavs were nothing short of poor last season when LeBron was not on the floor with Kyrie. Now whether that speaks to the greatness of LeBron, the limits of Kyrie, or the pieces that surround them is hard to judge. And now that Kyrie is asking to be moved, we might get our answer.
It may not be the best move for the all-star point guard, who may become the face of a franchise elsewhere. He risks the opportunity at another championship, something that defines a players’ greatness once their days are done. Again, it’s up to Kyrie to prove himself. He is young and may find he can grow and prosper else where with a rejuvenated squad.
But where may that be?
Rumors are circulating quickly. Some involve simple player-for-player deals, and others are more complex, bringing in a 3rd team and future picks for years to come.
Kyrie has asked he be traded to either the Spurs, Knicks, Heat or Timberwolves, however he doesn’t have any control as to where the Cavs decide to ship him out to. Cleveland would rather find a deal that suits them better for the future, and you know when I say them, I really mean LeBron.
So here are the most possible and plausible outcomes for Kyrie, whether he likes it or not:
The Phoenix Suns: Kyrie did not ask to be traded to Phoenix, however he may not have a choice. The Cavs are going to be looking for another point guard to replace Irving, and that could come in the form of the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe. However, that is not all it will take to lure Irving away from Cleveland. The Suns will have to include some role players to help support LeBron, such as Jared Dudley and possibly Devin Booker, however that seems unlikely. Their newest rookie in Josh Jackson who was drafted No.4 overall could be on the trading block, but that comes with risk for both sides.
Despite all the “ifs” and “ors,” the Suns are the most capable team at making a simple trade for Kyrie, meaning they can pull it off without involving another team.
The New York Knicks: Well, wouldn’t this be interesting. Kyrie to the Knicks is certainly plausible, however it is going to take some work.
The Knicks, who are in the midst of moving on from Carmelo Anthony, can try and pull of a miracle. It may take another team to help them out, possibly the Suns, but all teams must be willing to take on some sort of risk and/or salary dump, which is tough to agree upon. A potential New York Knicks trade for Kyrie according to Jordan Schulz would be both Bledsoe and Anthony heading to the Cavs, with Kyrie and Chandler heading to the Knicks, and Love & Ntilikina heading to Phoenix. That’s a tough deal, especially for the Suns who seem like the would be getting the short end of the stick, but it is definitely a plausible blockbuster deal.
It also reported that the Knicks would be willing to give up Carmelo and multiple first round picks for Irving. Now that could be intriguing.
The Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta currently has a nice trio of first round draft picks stocked up that could certainly entice the Cavs to push Irving their way. Again, the deal may also take a third team, seeing as how the Hawks cannot supply much else to support LeBron besides some upcoming picks.
The Suns come to mind again as a third team, however they may not get much in this deal except for maybe a Dennis Schroder and another role player.
The Minnesota Timberwolves: It would be interesting to see Irving get shipped out to the West, where teams are stacking up in hopes to dethrone the surging Warriors. It is certainly something the Cavs would hear out, as they could remove Irving from competing in LeBron’s East Coast hierarchy.
However, the Timberwolves, who have done nothing but loaded up this offseason, would most likely have to give up one of their star pieces in order to get a hold of Irving.
A name that comes to mind, Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins could come home to where he was originally drafted and give LeBron some support when he is on the bench. But again, that will not be enough to entice the Cavs. The Timberwolves, like many other teams, may have to convince a third team to join the party and get in on a deal.
We’ll have to see where this goes, as the Timberwolves come off as a very attractive position for both Kyrie and the Cavs…I mean LeBron.
Kyle Hirshkind is the managing editor for Full Press Coverage's New York Jets channel. Originally from Long Island, New York, Kyle has been an avid Jets fan for 20+ years.