The basketball world was stunned on Friday as news broke that Kyrie Irving had met with the Cavaliers and requested a trade. Those discussions happened as early as the days before the NBA Draft, but had not been made public until recently. Irving’s request didn’t just come as a surprise to fans, but his Cavaliers teammates, including LeBron James, learned of his decision to ask out of Cleveland along with everyone else.
The Cavaliers are now in an interesting position, as they have a young star entering his prime years that wants out. The Cleveland front office, now headed by Koby Altman who was hired right as the Irving reports broke, has undoubtedly fielded calls from most every team in the league, inquiring about what it would take to land Irving — who has two more years left on his current contract.
However, we shouldn’t expect the Cavaliers to try and move quickly on an Irving deal, as the Pacers did with Paul George. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cavaliers, while having conversations about Irving, are yet to get any real traction on discussions with other teams.
The Cavaliers have been fielding multiple trade calls and offers for Irving in recent days but do not yet have traction on a possible deal, league sources said.
The Cavs are interested in signing Derrick Rose to a minimum deal, which has been known since before the Irving news broke, but now he could possibly be signed as a replacement for Irving rather than a backup. However, we won’t know what the Cavs’ roster will look like — or what role Rose or any other guard on the roster will have — until an Irving deal is complete and we know what pieces Cleveland can land in return.
The Pacers had very little leverage in negotiations involving Paul George because he had just one year left on his deal and there had been reports for months that he had his eyes on Los Angeles when he hit free agency next summer. The Cavaliers, however, still have plenty of leverage involving Irving, despite his request, and would be wise to insist on recouping as close to fair value for him as possible, even if it meant starting the season with him still on the roster, despite how awkward that may be.