The Quandary of Kyrie: Amid rumors of Kyrie Irving being unhappy in Cleveland, what should be done that is best for both parties?
I never would have guessed that Kyrie would have a problem in Cleveland. He is playing with a top-five and top-15 player in the league (LeBron and Love, respectively), he is on a team with a lot of good shooting that leaves him space to operate with Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith and is on his way to the NBA Finals.
No one in the east has a chance against the Cavs. LeBron has made the Finals five consecutive years, and there is no team that has near as much star power as the Cavs. The third-best team in the east, record-wise, is the Celtics, and their best player is 5-feet-9-inches. The Raptors are solid, but when Demarre Carroll and LeBron go head-to-head in the playoffs, there isn’t much of a competition. The Hawks took a huge step back from last year, and the Heat have basically no offense.
So if I’m Kyrie, and I want to go to a contending team, the best options are probably in the east. My favorite scenario would be Irving to the Spurs, but that is highly unlikely due Irving’s ball-dominating ways and the fact the Spurs most likely don’t have the cap space. But, an Irving-Green-Leonard-Aldridge-Duncan lineup, with a Parker-Irving-Green-Leonard-Aldridge small-ball variation is just disgusting. Irving to the Warriors doesn’t really make any sense, and there is no viable trade. Irving could dominate in a bench role while the main guys for Golden State take a break, but there is no trade that could make this happen.
The Thunder already have two ball-dominators in Russ and KD, and also lack the necessary trade chips. The Rockets could be interesting, but when another ball-dominating point guard went there (Ty Lawson), it didn’t end well. The Clips are basically out of trade pieces as well. So the west doesn’t seem to have any viable contenders to trade for Irving. Which brings us back to the east, and the destination that makes the most sense for Kyrie and the Cavs should Irving actually leave.
The Boston Celtics. This could actually be very interesting. They have the picks, they have the players and they want a star. To the trade machine.
The Celtics could also throw in their first-round picks the next two years, plus the Brooklyn pick next year, and this could work. However, in this scenario, the Cavs are left without a starting point guard. They could put Lebron at the point and go James-Bradley-Shumpert-Frye-Love, or something along those lines, but another trade that could work is as follows.
In this scenario, the Celtics would only have to give up maybe one first-rounder, possibly two. Bradley and Thomas are maybe the Celtics’ two most talented players, and they fit in very nicely with the Cavs. The Celtics are then running a lineup of Irving, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson, which with a top-five pick in this year’s draft could do some major damage.
This trade also provides the Cavs some much-needed backcourt depth and a quality shooting guard. However, the trade deadline already passed and, once again, I don’t know why Kyrie would leave Cleveland. However, this is a possibility in the off-season. If this trade did happen, it would definitely make the east more competitive, and still provide an upgrade to the Cavs’ roster. Until next time.
Collegian NBA Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScriff.