5 Updated Kyrie Irving Trade Packages Cleveland Cavaliers Should Consider
Now more than a week after reports surfaced of Kyrie Irving wanting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the four-time All-Star has yet to receive his wish.
Naturally, interest in the 25-year-old point guard is quite high. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes that 20 teams have inquired about the cost of trading for Irving, while the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Miami Heat have all made formal offers.
The Cavaliers should be in no hurry to deal their star, given that training camp is still almost two months away. They could also ignore the request all together, as owner Dan Gilbert says he expects Irving in camp this fall.
Cleveland reportedly wants a "veteran starter, blue chipper on a rookie contract and first-round pick", notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He adds that the Cavs have interest in a Suns deal that would include rookie forward Josh Jackson, point guard Eric Bledsoe and a first-round pick, much like the one Bleacher Report previously proposed.
With Irving still on the market and suitors starting to take shape, here's an updated look at what Cleveland should try to get in return.
Kyrie to the Spurs
Cavaliers Receive: PG Eric Bledsoe, G/F Danny Green, F Davis Bertans, 2018 and 2020 first-round picks (from Spurs)
Spurs Receive: PG Kyrie Irving
Suns Receive: PG Dejounte Murray, F Kyle Anderson, SG Iman Shumpert
For the Cavaliers, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Cleveland's first choice should be to trade Irving to the Spurs, giving them a core along with Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and others that would push the Golden State Warriors for Western Conference supremacy.
A straight Cavs-Spurs swap won't work. San Antonio won't trade Leonard, and there's no package of youth the Spurs can send back that would make it worth Cleveland's while, either.
Enter the Suns, who should be stockpiling young talent and can give the Cavaliers a great starting two-way point guard in Bledsoe. Adding Danny Green from San Antonio gives the Cavs one of the league's best three-and-D guys to use against Golden State, and a pair of first-round picks sets them up to make future deals.
Phoenix gets its point guard of the future in the 20-year-old Murray, who at 6'5" averaged 9.5 points and 3.3 assists in eight games as a starter last season. The Spurs give up a lot of young talent but get the best overall player in this deal with Irving.
Cleveland may not get a star back in return, but it adds two good rotation pieces and picks. This also helps San Antonio wear down Golden State in the West.
Star Point Guard Swap
Cavaliers Receive: PG Damian Lillard, F Al-Farouq Aminu
Trail Blazers Receive: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Iman Shumpert
The reasoning for the Cavs to get Lillard is simple: He's one of the few star point guards who could potentially become available.
If continuity is important to Cleveland, it can swap the two star guards and march back to the Finals without changing much else on the roster.
There's a lot to like about Lillard. He's 27 and under contract for the next four years at an average of $28.5 million per. Given the four-year, $170 million supermax that John Wall just signed (and Irving would have been in line for), this is great value.
Aminu gives Cleveland a 6'9" wing who studies footage of Scottie Pippen and can seamlessly guard three positions. While not a great shooter, he's only 26 and carries postseason experience against the Golden State Warriors.
Why would the Blazers part with their star? Irving is the more skilled of the two, and his age (25) falls more in line with the core of Portland's roster. By the time this team is ready to challenge for a top spot in the West, Lillard could be in his 30s.
A swap of the two stars makes sense for Cleveland's present and Portland's future.
CJ McCollum Comes Home
Cavaliers Receive: G CJ McCollum, 2019 first-round pick (top-10 protected)
Trail Blazers Receive: PG Kyrie Irving
At 25, he put up 23.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists while finishing seventh in three-point shooting (42.1 percent). Even though he's primarily played shooting guard alongside Damian Lillard, McCollum is 6'3" and spent 30 percent of his court time at point guard last season.
Defense would be an issue, and Cleveland would likely have to cover for him with J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert at times. McCollum's offensive production would be worth it, however. He's also under contract at roughly $26 million per season over the next four years.
Portland has to consider this trade given the enormous potential of a Lillard-Irving backcourt. Either one can play on or off the ball, given that both are excellent shooters with decent size.
Since Irving is the best player in this deal, Cleveland should ask for a future first-rounder that the Trail Blazers would want protected.
Irving for Wiggins...Sort Of
Cavaliers Receive: PG Ricky Rubio, SG Rodney Hood, SF Joe Johnson or PF Derrick Favors
Timberwolves Receive: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Iman Shumpert
Jazz Receive: SG Andrew Wiggins, PG Tyus Jones, PF Gorgui Dieng
While a Wiggins return to the Cavaliers would be fun in theory, there would be some hard feelings to erase. The fact James didn't seem to want him around, and never reached out to Wiggins like he did others, may make for an awkward return.
Instead, let's give Irving to the Timberwolves and add in a third team to keep Wiggins out West.
The Jazz make a lot of sense as a trade partner, as they're looking for a new face of the franchise following Gordon Hayward's departure to the Boston Celtics. Wiggins would fill that role.
Cleveland gains a new starting point guard who couldn't be any different from Irving, given Rubio's lack of shooting but love of defense and passing. Hood carries star potential as a wing off the bench, and Cleveland should ask for either Johnson or Favors to play a big role in its rotation.
The Timberwolves not only get Irving but also Shumpert, who they actually wanted just last season.
Utah deals for Wiggins to lead its franchise along with Rudy Gobert while picking up a new starting power forward in Dieng and a bright, young point guard in Jones.
Cavaliers Receive: PG Damian Lillard, C DeMarcus Cousins, F Carmelo Anthony, F Al-Farouq Aminu
Knicks Receive: SF Maurice Harkless, F/C Meyers Leonard, F Solomon Hill
Pelicans Receive: PF Kevin Love, SG Courtney Lee
Trail Blazers Receive: PG Kyrie Irving, C Tristan Thompson, SG Iman Shumpert
If the Cavs need a jolt of excitement after this forgettable offseason, this would do the trick.
Let's start with Portland, which swaps point guards and wings with Cleveland and comes away with Irving. The Cavs get Lillard as their new lead guard, with Aminu as a coveted perimeter defender off the bench.
Anthony is finally traded! James' 2018 free-agency decision gets a little easier now that one of his best friends is in town. The Knicks get two quality starters in return and rid themselves of Lee's nearly $37 million remaining on his deal, making the Tim Hardaway Jr. contract seem slightly less painful.
New Orleans trades upside for security as Cousins can walk in free agency this summer, while Love is under contract until 2020. The Pelicans also desperately need perimeter help, and Lee brings a sparkling 40.1 percent three-point shot to town.
The Cavs' new starting lineup of James, Lillard, Cousins, Anthony and J.R. Smith may not be the best defensive unit, but it could put up 120 a game. If Cleveland wants to shake things up, there is no better way.