Since his trade request became public in July, the league and its fans have been in a frenzy, trying to figure out which potential offers might net the young All-Star.
Naturally, some ideas make more sense than others. And those are the ones that generally linger around the internet and NBA Twitter the longest.
The latest rumors about what a Kyrie trade might look like can be found below. Time will tell which ones have staying power.
The Latest on Kyrie Irving
Count former Cavs general manager David Griffin among those who think Irving requesting a trade wasn’t a villainous move.
“I think Kyrie‘s going to end up getting traded,” Griffin said on an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, (h/t Def Pen Hoops). “I don’t think this is youth and ignorance. This is a guy who handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to. He went to Dan Gilbert privately and told him he thought he would be happier somewhere else. The worst thing this guy could have done is pretend to be all in and sink the ship from within.”
Where he gets moved, and how much of a return Cleveland receives, could depend largely on whether other executives read this situation the way Griffin does.
Those wary of a young player exercising this level of control over an organization may not pony up much of an offer, but at least three teams appear to still be talking to the Cavs.
Let’s start with the Phoenix Suns, who have been linked with Irving since the news broke.
“The Phoenix Suns are the team to watch on Kyrie Irving,” ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson said, per NBC’s Dan Feldman. “Now, they won’t offer Josh Jackson plus that Miami 2018 first and Eric Bledsoe. I’m told they’ll do Bledsoe. They’ll do the pick. Plus, Dragan Bender.”
If Phoenix is unwilling to part with Jackson, essentially a question mark at this point in his career, for a 25-year-old four-time All-Star with a career scoring average over 20, its front office may be one that isn’t in total agreement with Griffin’s assessment.
Jackson has plenty of potential, but there’s nowhere near a guarantee he ever hits Irving’s level. In fact, the median scoring average for a No. 4 pick is just 11.4 points, per DraftExpress.
Another team that appears to be interested is the Detroit Pistons. Team president and coach Stan Van Gundy recently said, “the Pistons have had some level of conversation with the Cavs,” per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
Detroit stars Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond could be available, but neither makes a ton of sense for Cleveland as the centerpiece of a package.
Jackson hasn’t had a single season with a box plus-minus (BPM) as high as Irving’s career BPM, per Basketball Reference. Plus, he’s coming off an injury-riddled campaign that saw him benched for Ish Smith.
And while LeBron James has never played with someone who has the potential to be a DeAndre Jordan-esque rim-roller, conventional wisdom suggests surrounding the Cleveland legend with shooters. Drummond isn’t that.
So, for the time being, it appears patience will continue to be the key attribute while following this story. Teams are understandably interested, but this trade has the potential to alter franchises. And you don’t want to be the front office that gets one of those wrong.
Will the Minnesota Timberwolves Give Andrew Wiggins the Max?
We go now from a future former Cavalier (probably) to an actual former Cavalier.
Believe it or not, Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, already has three full NBA seasons in the books. That means he’s eligible for his first contract extension. And it could be for max money, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:
In a later tweet, Krawczynski detailed “… this is vintage Taylor. Always wants to close a deal with a handshake and a frank conversation.”
Taylor’s desire to see more from his young scorer makes sense. Wiggins finished 2016-17 ranked 16th in points per game, per Basketball Reference. His lack of contributions elsewhere led to a 178th-place finish in BPM, again, per Basketball Reference.
That number shouldn’t be seen as a long-term indictment of the 22-year-old’s ‘ game, though. He’s 6’8″, with top-tier athleticism. Improvement as a playmaker and increased desire on defense and the boards could put him back on track toward the lofty projections that accompanied him into the league in 2014.
And if he does make that commitment to Taylor, he should be in Minnesota for a while, despite earlier rumors linking him to the Irving saga.
“If the Cavs are to work out a deal for Irving to Minnesota, Wiggins is the most likely Cavs target,” Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com wrote. “Yes, the Wolves could still sign-and-trade him. But that would create some bad blood—unless Wiggins wanted to be part of the deal. As one NBA source told me, Wiggins signing a long-term deal with Minnesota makes it unlikely the Wolves will trade him.”
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