The basketball world got rocked on Friday afternoon when word came down that Kyrie Irving wants to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. It came straight out of left field, as Irving cited a desire to no longer sit in the shadow of LeBron James as a reason why he wants to get traded.
Basically, Irving wants to be the center of attention somewhere, which is perfectly fine — he is a superstar who wants the opportunity to prove this on his own team. The big question is what team would give him that opportunity? For Irving, there are four that stick out.
Sure, some of this doesn’t add up. For example, how would he be the man in Minnesota if they already have Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler, and what could Miami possibly put into a deal that makes the Cavaliers go “yes, let’s do this”?
We decided to list seven teams that would make the most intriguing trade destinations for Irving, the ones that would let him be a star and could include deals that lead to the Cavs saying yes. They include two of the squads listed above, along with five other teams that could be intriguing landing spots/trade partners.
It would be kind of stunning to see the Cavaliers make a move that could seriously strengthen their biggest rival in the East, but because Irving is a big name player who could be on the move, the Celtics kind of have to be included. And besides, no potential deal could better prepare the Cavaliers for the future if LeBron decides to leave town.
Boston could throw together a deal full of first round draft picks, young players, and maybe even someone like Isaiah Thomas and his one-year deal to entice Irving to head to Beantown. Is a deal that involves Cleveland getting some weird combination Thomas, Jae Crowder, one of Jaylen Brown/Jayson Tatum, and a whole bunch of picks enough? Does Boston actually want to do something like that? Would that lead to LeBron losing his mind?
The Celtics would probably be better suited waiting for someone else to hit the market to unload the farm, but Danny Ainge has been waiting for a star to become available. A star is available.
Los Angeles Lakers
The owners of the No. 2 picks from the last two drafts in Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, the could put together a pair of young players to ship to Cleveland that probably couldn’t be topped if their eyes are on the future. Add in the fact that Irving would bring the star power Magic Johnson wants in Los Angeles and a move here could make sense.
Of course, there’s a big problem here: If LeBron would consider Los Angeles next offseason, why on earth would the Lakers trade for the guy who, you know, has openly said he doesn’t want to play with the best player in the world? Plus, does Los Angeles really want to consider moving both Ingram and Ball in one move? Especially Ball, who Johnson seems to believe could end up being a great point guard in the not too distant future.