Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cavaliers as he hopes to end up somewhere he can be the primary star and spread his wings and get out from under LeBron James’ shadow. It was a stunning revelation that Irving wanted out and there are tons of teams that will be interested in acquiring him and his point guard services.
However, the Cavs are reportedly asking for a lot for Irving, which makes sense considering he’s an All-Star player that has two years remaining on his contract. Because Cleveland is asking for such a significant return for Irving, there’s reason to believe that the Cavaliers could let this process drag out through training camp and into the regular season.
That would almost assuredly create for some awkwardness in the locker room and tensions would be high — even if LeBron denies he’s “eager” for Irving to be gone — which would make for a highly entertaining spectacle to watch from afar as Irving, James, and the rest tried to coexist. Some would say that moving Irving before the season should be a priority to avoid chemistry issues and possible locker room fracturing, but if the Cavs want to avoid getting pennies on the dollar like the Pacers and Bulls got for their stars, they might have to wait it out a bit.
That’s what the oddsmakers at Bovada expect Cleveland to do, as they released odds on Tuesday for where Kyrie Irving will be playing for the first game of the 2017-18 regular season. The Cavs have even odds to have Irving when their season tips off, while the Knicks, Suns, Celtics, and Nuggets all have sub 10-1 odds (you can see their full list of 10 teams with odds below).
Cleveland Cavaliers: 1-1
New York Knicks: 3-1
Phoenix Suns: 5-1
Boston Celtics: 7-1
Denver Nuggets: 9-1
Minnesota Timberwolves: 12-1
San Antonio Spurs: 14-1
Miami Heat: 20-1
Milwaukee Bucks: 25-1
Atlanta Hawks: 33-1
It’s hard to figure what the Knicks could really offer the Cavs in the form of assets to entice them enough to make a deal — especially after reports came out that the Cavaliers don’t have much desire to add Carmelo Anthony — but they’re still at the top of the list of other teams to land Irving.
This list illustrates the problems the Cavs will have in unloading Irving for decent return for his value. Few teams can provide the mixture of young assets for a potential rebuild and current players to keep LeBron happy, and the one that can do that is their chief rival in the East, the Boston Celtics. That’s why Cleveland remains at the top of this list, and it could make for a very entertaining camp and start to the season for the Cavs if he’s still on the roster.