Report: Suns, Timberwolves Top Kyrie Irving Trade Destinations, Heat a Long Shot

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 6:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat during a game on March 6, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The Kyrie Irving trade sweepstakes has just begun, but the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported Tuesday that the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves are "particularly strong candidates" to land the four-time All-Star.

Jackson noted the Miami Heat view themselves as "something of a long shot" to land Irving and that they do "not have considerable optimism about being able to strike a deal."

On Friday, ESPN.com's Chris Haynes reported Irving had named the Heat, Timberwolves, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs as his ideal landing spots.

According to ESPN.com's Zach Lowe, the Cleveland Cavaliers have prioritized landing "a blue-chip young player" as the centerpiece of a package for Irving.

Scan the Minnesota and Phoenix rosters, and it's not hard to find those kinds of talents.

The Timberwolves have a burgeoning stud in Andrew Wiggins who could be more expendable with Jimmy Butler in the fold, while the Suns have the ability to dangle point guard Eric Bledsoe—who is under team control for two more seasons.

However, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported Tuesday the Suns have "reassured" No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson they will not include him in a trade for Irving, which could hinder their ability to piece together an appealing group of assets.

But as Lowe noted, "Cleveland and Phoenix might be able to work a simple two-team deal" if the Suns change their mind and become amenable to trading Jackson.

The story differs for the Heat, who aren't replete with young blue-chippers.

Justise Winslow would be their best bet in that regard, but considering he was limited to 18 games last season because of injuries and is a career 25.8 percent shooter from three, it's unlikely the Cavs would be interested.

Miami is also hamstrung when it comes to trading draft picks since it owes its 2018 and 2021 first-round selections to Phoenix. Teams cannot deal consecutive first-round picks, according to the terms of the Stepien Rule.