Let’s rewind to 2013. Kyrie Irving is the cornerstone of the Cleveland Cavaliers and his teammates are Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Bynum, Spencer Hawes, and Luol Deng — a nice mix young players and veterans.
Irving led that team to a 32-50 finish and the Cavs were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs in March.
That was the last season when Kyrie had “the team to himself.” He was the best player, he dominated the ball, and he took all of the big shots.
The next season, LeBron James returned home and everything changed. LeBron dominated the ball, he garnered all of the attention and Kyrie was left to play second fiddle. But you know what else happened: the Cavs won big.
They made the Finals in 2015, 2016 and 2017, winning it all in 2016.
Now, ESPN and multiple outlets are reporting that Kyrie has asked the Cavs front office for a trade. Uncle Drew thinks he’s ready to lead a club all on his own.
I’ve watched Kyrie closely over the last three years and while he’s an amazing talent I don’t think he will ever be able to do that.
Night to night, Kyrie won’t be able to put a team on his back, play both ends of the court while making plays for himself and others. LeBron was the perfect player for Irving to play with because all he had to worry about was going out and getting buckets.
LeBron was the playmaker and Irving was the finisher. Case in point, Game 7 of the Finals in 2016.
Here’s a little sneak peak of how Kyrie fared without LeBron. Last season, the Cavs were outscored by 90 points in 574 minutes when Irving played and James didn’t.
In the playoffs, they were outscored by 30 points in 61 minutes. In the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, the Cavs were outscored 37-13 when Irving was on the court and James was off. SHEEEEESH. Hey Kyrie, looks like you need LeBron.
I’m interested in seeing what Kyrie’s trade value is. Irving thinks he’s a top-15 player, but he isn’t. In 2016, the Cavs fared better with Matthew Dellavedova on the court instead of Kyrie.
I honestly believe a Patrick Beverley type of point guard will give the Cavs a better chance to beat the Warriors.
Kyrie is an amazing offensive force who can score from anywhere on the court but he gives up so much on the other end, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
Remember last year against the Celtics and Warriors when Ty Lue had to scrap their defensive game plan because Kyrie was dying on every screen, leading to open shots all over the court?
(Yes, I also remember when he scored 42 points in Game 4 and saved them.)
If you watch this video closely- you can actually see the exact moment Kyrie Irving requests a trade. pic.twitter.com/JPirPs7UpQ
— Kyle Madson (@KyleAMadson) July 22, 2017
I love Kyrie’s game and watching him play is certainly entertaining but I’m skeptical that he will ever learn to play passable defense or become a true point guard who involves his teammates every night.
So if Kyrie is bolting from the comfy confines of Northeast Ohio, where could he end up?
Also keep in mind Kyrie has a 15 percent trade kicker but no no-trade clause so wherever the Cavs send him is where he ends up.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers could use the assets they obtained from the Chris Paul trade and flip them for Kyrie. I mentioned Beverley earlier but they could also include DeAndre Jordan, Sam Dekker, and a draft pick.
The Clippers would then have a core of Irving, Blake Griffin, and Danilo Gallinari. While the Cavs could look to attach Tristan Thompson to that deal to avoid redundancy with Jordan.
The Cavs might miss Irving’s scoring punch but they could make Kevin Love more of a focal point on offense.
San Antonio Spurs
Kyrie told the Cavs that he would prefer to go San Antonio but they will have to involve a third team in this trade because they don’t possess the assets to make a move for Irving.
They could start with Dejounte Murray but then where do they go from there?
I also think Gregg Popovich would hate coaching Kyrie, an isolation heavy player who still has no clue how to play defense.
This trade makes the most sense for the Cavs.
The Suns could include, Eric Bledsoe (a Klutch sports client), a nice young wing player like T.J. Warren and a draft pick.
I think that would satisfy the Cavs and would be a win-win for both teams.
The Nuggets could send Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, and Wilson Chandler to Cleveland in exchange for Irving.
The Nuggets could then go forward with Kyrie, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic. That would be an interesting team
New York Knicks
YOOO: HE’S NOT GOING TO THE KNICKS. But since he said he would like to play in New York, I’ll include them. The main issue is, what could the Knicks offer besides Carmelo?