Posted on July 22, 2017, by Travis Pulver
With the New York Knicks not making any tangible progress in their attempts to trade Carmelo Anthony, it had begun to look as if the NBA offseason was set to quiet down. But as it turns out, the craziness has only just begun.
We have the Cleveland Cavaliers to thank for it.
The Cavaliers have been in a tough spot this offseason. Players have lamented the apparent lack of direction for the franchise following the departure of general manager David Griffin. Rumor has it that the team is expected to make acting general manager Koby Altman the new GM, but the move could be too little, too late.
It appears that Altman’s first major move could be trading the Cav’s superstar point guard, Kyrie Irving.
Sources have told ESPN that Irving requested a trade when he met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert last week. It seems that Irving has grown tired of playing second fiddle to LeBron James. He wants to go somewhere he can be the leading man.
If that is indeed the case, then the teams he is rumored to be interested in make no sense—except for maybe the New York Knicks. He would have played second fiddle to Jimmy Butler when he was with the Bulls and would do so in should he join Butler in Minnesota. If he were to join Carmelo Anthony in New York, it would be a similar situation.
However, it would not be shocking to see the Cavaliers swap Irving for Carmelo Anthony and a couple of draft picks. Irving and Kristaps Porzingis could be a very entertaining tandem to watch.
He and Kawhi Leonard would make a great pair, but Leonard is the main man in San Antonio, and nothing is going to change that.
The Miami Heat would be a good landing spot as would the Chicago Bulls (minus Butler) if he was still interested in them. If Anthony were part of the package with the Knicks, then New York would be a decent option as well.
As could be expected, Irving’s agent has denied that his client wants out of Cleveland. At the same time, the Cavaliers are not happy word has gotten out already. If teams know a player wants out, they are going to make lowball offers.
But if those teams are just thinking they’ll wait until he becomes a free agent and sign him then, they’ll have to wait. Irving signed a five-year extension in 2014. He’s locked in for at least the next two years with an option for the third.
In a way, the contract makes him slightly better bait for the Cavs to dangle. This way, whoever trades for him is guaranteed to have him for at least two seasons. Acquiring a superstar for two years is much more enticing rental than getting him for just one.
LeBron James has said he will not get involved with Irving’s trade demands. He would rather focus on his offseason regimen. That way he can be prepared to lead whoever happens to be on the court with him next season.
Before, all the talk about James possibly leaving seemed like just talk. With the Cavs being far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference, why would he leave? But if Irving leaves and isn’t replaced, it is hard to imagine James signing with the Cavaliers again.