Last Friday, Kyrie Irving sent the NBA world off the wall after news broke of his trade request.
Reports indicate that Irving no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, and is seeking a trade that will allow him to become the leader of his own franchise. Since the news broke of Irving’s request, there have been several teams around the league trying to put together a trade to acquire the four-time all-star.
In exchange for Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers are asking for a proven veteran and promising young players and won’t trade him unless their demands are met.
Among the many suitors are the New York Knicks, one of Irving’s preferred destinations. While the Knicks would love to have him play in The Garden, the chances of Irving playing in New York seems more like a dream than a reality.
For starters, the Knicks would love to use Carmelo Anthony in a trade for Irving, but the Cavaliers does not have much interest in Anthony. In addition to the lack of interest from the Cavaliers, Anthony remains very adamant about moving on to the Houston Rockets.
With all of the hype surrounding Irving, two teams have emerged as frontrunners. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets have been the most aggressive in negotiations.
While the Nuggets have several young assets they can use in a trade, Denver doesn’t have a proven veteran that would be pleasing to Cavaliers. Sure, the Nuggets can throw in Wilson Chandler as their proven veteran, but the Cavaliers are not interested in taking on another small forward.
Which is one of the main reasons why they are not willing to accept Carmelo Anthony in a trade. However, a deal with the Suns is the safest and smartest rout for the Cavaliers.
This deal would be a win-win situation for both the Cavaliers and Suns.
If I'm the Suns I would cash in multiple assets to acquire Kyrie Irving, just imagine the scoring potential of an Irving & Booker backcourt. pic.twitter.com/KsNWNecTNl
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationNBA) July 21, 2017
For the Suns, it is obvious what they are getting in return. As one of the league’s top three point guards, Irving may have the brightest future for players 25-years old or younger. Not only would this trade put the Suns back in playoff contention, but Irving has the potential to create the league’s most unstoppable backcourt of all-time with, Devin Brooker.
As for the Cavaliers, their number one goal is to put together a team that could keep LeBron James in Cleveland past the 2018 season. Furthermore, what better way to keep the king happy than to trade for one of his close friends in Eric Bledsoe.
He may not be Kyrie Irving nor a part of the Banana Boat Buddies, but Bledsoe isn’t a scrub. Despite becoming one of the league’s most underappreciated players, Bledsoe has established himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA.
ESPN Sources: LeBron James invites Derrick Rose to work out with him this week in Las Vegas along with Eric Bledsoe. https://t.co/kCa8Vi943E
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 26, 2017
As a member of the Suns, Bledsoe spent the past four seasons averaging 19.0 points on 44 percent shooting from the field, to go along with 6.0 assists per game. In addition to his offensive game, Bledsoe has become one of the league’s top perimeter defenders averaging 1.6 steals per game with the Suns.
So Cleveland would still have an all-star caliber point guard to pair alongside LeBron. Also, receiving TJ Warren and Marquese Chriss in this deal isn’t one to be overlooked.
Both players would provide the Cavaliers with youth and athleticism off the bench, something that was missing in their loss to the Golden State Warriors during the Finals.
Despite his trade wishes, CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney projects that Kyrie Irving will remain a member of the Cavaliers. And with all the drama surrounding he and LeBron James, this is going to be one heck of a 2017-18 NBA season.