Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving would reportedly be willing to sign a contract extension if he's traded to the San Antonio Spurs, but the uncertain future of superstar Cavs teammate LeBron James makes that particular blockbuster deal less likely.
On Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reported James' potential exit in free agency next summer makes a win-now deal for LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker or Danny Green less attractive to Cleveland. It's instead focused on young assets like the New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis, among others.
The Spurs were one of the teams Irving mentioned as a preferred landing spot when he requested a trade during a meeting with Cavaliers officials last month, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The others were the Knicks, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves.
San Antonio would be a great fit on the surface. Pairing him with Kawhi Leonard would give the perennial championship contenders a dynamic one-two punch, but Leonard is also more likely to defer offensively than James, giving Irving the chance to shine that he covets.
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Alas, James can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2017-18 season. And without an extension in place, the Cavaliers must prepare to start rebuilding the roster without him rather than focus on short-term title hopes.
The Spurs have a few promising developmental players such as Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson, but nobody who rises to the level of a young franchise building block.
Nevertheless, SiriusXM NBA Radio passed along comments Monday from longtime San Antonio stalwart David Robinson about the team's potential to get Irving:
The Cavaliers front office has a lot to think about because making the wrong deal involving the point guard paired with the possible loss of James next summer could send the franchise into a tailspin. That's probably why new general manager Koby Altman told reporters the situation was "fluid" last month.
That said, while a trade to the Spurs would be nice for Irving on a personal level, the pieces don't seem to match up properly for the Cavs. So it seems like that specific destination is a long shot, barring a more complex multi-team swap where Cleveland still gets the young assets it's seeking.