With Kyrie Irving requesting a trade and wanting to leave the Cavs, it looks as though Uncle Drew will be donning something other than a wine and gold jersey beginning next season barring a drastic change.
With LeBron James’ future in Cleveland in question beginning in the summer of 2018, if the Cavs were to trade Irving this offseason, it’s tough to determine if they should acquire young assets or veterans who are in their prime and would help the wine and gold immediately. Early reports indicate that Dan Gilbert prefers to put all the marbles in the jar for this upcoming season. If James were to leave next summer, they can worry about rebuilding when (and if) that happens. Recent reports from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst seems to counter this, saying the Cavaliers would only acquire older talent if they would also receive younger, cost-controlled talent as well.
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Irving gave the Cavs four teams that he would prefer to be traded to. Due to him not having a no-trade clause, he cannot determine where he goes in a trade and Cleveland can trade him to wherever they feel they get the best return. But with that said, let’s take a look at some of the options that the Cavs could potentially get in return for Irving if they trade him to one of his four preferred landing spots: New York Knicks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, or Minnesota Timberwolves.
ESPN Sources: On Kyrie Irving front, Cavs were given four preferred landing spots: New York, Miami, San Antonio, Minnesota.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 21, 2017
NBA trades get easier to accomplish after December 14 when recently signed players become available to be traded, but the unique circumstances of Irving’s demand might make that impossible. If so, here is where things stand with each of these teams.
New York Knicks
One of James’ best friends ever since they played against one another in high school, Anthony has been rumored to join James in Cleveland ever since the King made his return to the Cavs in 2014. Those rumors became even louder this past season and current offseason due to Anthony wanting to be traded away from the Knicks. With a no-trade clause, he can determine his desitantion, but he supposedly has let New York know that he would accept a trade to either the Cavs or the Houston Rockets.
Although previous trade rumors involved Kevin Love being traded for Melo, it now seems as though Irving would be the biggest name involved in a trade that would allow the Cavs to acquire Anthony.
Last season, the 33-year-old 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. His 34.3 minutes per game (74 games) were the fewest amount of minutes he has averaged per game since the 2011-12 season and the second-fewest of his career.
Anthony may not be known for his defense and may be considered a star who holds the ball too much, but playing with a star like James would likely change that. They already have the chemistry off the court, and given their time spend during Team USA play, the two could likely get that same chemistry in the court quite fast as well.
He may not have participated in the postseason since 2013, but the 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA player has plenty of talent, enough that could making pairing he and James together special. In a trade that involves Irving and Anthony, the Cavs would likely receive additional draft picks and/or young assets as well. The Knicks have had some discontent with their star, Kristaps Porzingis, but do not expect the Cavs to be able to land him unless additional teams are involved and everyone gets quite creative.
If the Heat were to acquire Irving in a two-team trade, it would likely take multiple players and possibly draft picks as well. Here are two players that the Cavs could be interested in:
Never having been named an All-Star during his nine-year career so far, Dragic, the 31-year-old had the best season of his career this past year. He averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from long distance, his best since the 2013-14 season. He also attempted more two-pointers (11.4) and three-pointers (four) this season than any other in his career in 33.7 minutes per game (73 games).
Since becoming a full-time starter prior to the 2012-13 season, Dragic has averaged 17.2 points, 5.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from three-point range in 33.8 minutes per game.
He definitely isn’t as good as Irving, but Dragic would be a serviceable point guard and one that the Cavs could count on to lead their backcourt all season. At the very least, he’s given Cleveland fits over the years, averaging 15 points and five assists per game throughout his career.
One of the youngest players on the Heat, Winslow just finished his second year in the NBA after playing at Duke for one year. Unfortunately for him, he played in just 18 games (15 starts) last season after suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery.
Before getting hurt, Winslow averaged 10.9 points, 5.2 rebouns, 3.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting just 35.6 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc in 34.7 minutes per game. Not known as much of a shooter, he is more of a slasher that likes shooting from inside 15 feet or pass the ball to an open man on the outside.
During his two seasons so far in the league, the 21-year-old has averaged 7.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and one steal per game while shooting 40 percent from the floor and 25.8 percent from long distance in 29.8 minutes per game (96 games, 23 starts).
Although he still needs time to develop his game, the former Blue Devil could be quite a good all-around player if given the proper instruction.
San Antonio Spurs
There’s no feasible way that the Cavs and Spurs could pull off a trade that would send Irving to the Spurs in a two-team deal. San Antonio isn’t trading Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland doesn’t need a big man like LaMarcus Aldridge unless they offload some of their own frontcourt. The only way the Spurs are acquiring Uncle Drew is if a third team (or more) is involved. If that happens, then Aldridge and former Cav, Danny Green, would be the pieces to look at as possibilities.
Wouldn’t this be ironic? Drafted by the Cavs with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, Wiggins never played a single game for Cleveland as he was traded to the Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love that same offseason. Wiggins had his own beefs with his treatment by James though, and he reportedly never talked to him before being traded for Love.
Coming off his best season of his short three-year career, the 22-year-old has played in (and started) in all but one regular season since coming to the NBA. This past season, the small forward averaged 23.6 points, four rebounds, 2.3 assists, and one steal per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from three-point range.
Prior to coming to the league, Wiggins was expected to be an elite defender in the NBA. Although he has been far from that, he would immediately add youth and athleticism to the Cavs. Also, he’s one heckuva dunker to put next to James as well. There is speculation that Wiggins, if he continues to ascend from his current play, could be an All-Star if he were playing in the East.