The title of this post is pretty much exactly what I plan on exploring: how did we get Kyrie Irving? If you're like me, you see that Kyrie is blossoming into one of the best point guards in the NBA and certainly has superstar potential. Even if he is merely a perennial all-star, that's pretty damn good. So how, exactly, did he end up playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, you ask? Let's take a stroll through some weird history of the franchise.
Let's start at the top and work our way down. If you didn't know already, Kyrie was selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft. That pick was not the Cavs own pick (the Cavs had the 4th pick), but rather the pick that was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. So let's look at that trade.
Cavaliers send: Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers send: Baron Davis and a first round pick (Kyrie Irving) to Cleveland Cavaliers
Now, Jamario Moon was a negligible piece in that trade and the Cavs ended up using the amnesty clause of Davis, so basically, the Cavs traded Mo Williams for Kyrie Irving. Not a bad trade, but go back a little further and it gets more interesting.
The Cavaliers acquired Mo Williams to act as the second offensive option on the contending teams that were led by LeBron James. In order to get Williams, the Cavs had to give up Damon Jones and Joe Smith. Damon Jones was signed as a free agent. However, Smith was acquired in a trade which allows us to go back even further. Take a look at this trade to see how the Cavs got Mo Williams, who eventually turned into Kyrie Irving.
Bucks send: Mo Williams to Cleveland Cavaliers
So as it stands right now, the Cavaliers turned Damon Jones and Joe Smith into Kyrie Irving. That's a pretty sweet deal. To put it into perspective, Damon Jones has a career PER of around 12, while Smith's PER with the Cavs was just under league average at 14.9. Kyrie Irving is 23 games into his NBA career and is currently 20th in the league with a PER of 21.6.
I guess Damon Jones was the key piece in that trade for Mo, but the Cavs also sent Joe Smith as a part of that deal. In order to do so, they had to trade for Smith. How did the Cavs get Joe Smith who eventually combined with Damon Jones to turn into Mo Williams who then turned into Kyrie Irving? This is where it gets really crazy.
In a trade that sent Ben Wallace and a second round draft pick to the Cavaliers, Joe Smith was also included. In order to get these guys, the Cavaliers traded Shannon Brown, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, and Cedric Simmons to the Bulls. Is it fair to say that Cedric Simmons essentially got traded for Joe Smith? Probably not, but I might do it anyway to keep things interesting/not super complicated. Feel free to poke holes in my shaky logic, but this is just for fun anyways. If you accept that Brown, Gooden, and Hughes is equal to Wallace and the second round draft pick, then Simmons and Smith are basically swapped straight up. This isn't really fair, so take this with a grain of salt.
Cavaliers send: Shannon Brown, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, and Cedric Simmons to Chicago Bulls
Bulls send: Ben Wallace, 2nd round pick (Danny Green), and Joe Smith to Cleveland Cavaliers
Quick recap: The Cavaliers trade Cedric Simmons (and maybe a little more) for Joe Smith. Joe Smith then gets traded with Damon Jones (signed as FA) to the Bucks for Mo Williams. Mo Williams then gets traded to the Clippers for Kyrie Irving. So, the Cavs traded Cedric Simmons and a $9 million free agent (Jones) for the likely rookie of the year? Cool.
Does anybody care how the Cavs got Cedric Simmons? Just one person? Well that's enough for me to keep going. This one is simple. It was an easy swap, the Cavs traded David Wesley and his PER of 6.6 to the New Orleans Hornets for Cedric Simmons. Wesley was then traded to the Nets a month later and waived two days after that. He never played in the NBA again after being traded for Simmons.
Cavaliers send: David Wesley to New Orleans Hornets
Hornets send: Cedric Simmons to Cleveland Cavaliers
Unfortunately (?) for you, the Cavs signed David Wesley as a free agent so I can't go any further. If you're still following all of this, bless you. Here's the final rundown.
Cavaliers signed David Wesley as a free agent in 2006. Wesley then got traded to the Hornets for Cedric Simmons. Simmons then got traded to the Bulls in exchange for Joe Smith. Smith got paired up with free agent signing Damon Jones and shipped off to Milwaukee in exchange for Mo Williams. Mo Williams makes the trip out to Hollywood and the Clippers send the first overall pick in the NBA draft, future ROY winner, and owner of the 20th best PER in the NBA right now......