The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has asked for a trade out of Cleveland and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, according to ESPN. It appears that the Cavs are attempting to grant Irving his trade, however it is unclear what kind of deal the Cavs would accept. There is really only one deal that is tolerable at this point, the Cavs have to land multiple high level players that can help them win in 2017-18. Of the multiple directions the team could go, it’s important they keep their sights on the here and now and not be tempted by future assets.
Draft picks and young developing players don’t do anything for the Cavs as they have to do their best to take advantage of their last guaranteed year with James. While his plans his for free agency next summer remain the focal point of many in the media, the Cavs best chance of retaining James’ services are closely tied to their ability to floor a team that can get back to the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season.
Regardless of whether James decides to take his talents elsewhere or remain in Cleveland, he is an all-time great talent and he gives Cleveland their best chance at another championship right now. His presence on the Cavs roster or any roster for that matter, gives that team a treasured opportunity at winning an NBA Title. To squander even one season with James in his prime would be blasphemy and at the same time certainly forfeit any hopes of keeping him in Cleveland beyond this season.
What this means is forgoing any potential future assets that the Cavs could get in return for Irving. Certainly first round picks and rising talent is intriguing, especially when considering how much of the Cavaliers future has already been mortgaged in the second LeBron James era. All the more reason to go “All In” again. Nothing the Cavs get in terms of future assets will give them as good of a chance at another Championship as the presence of James presents today.
Yes, there will be tough years when it’s all over. But a talent like James comes along once in a lifetime. There are two objectives for the Gilbert and soon-to-be GM Koby Altman. The first is to get the best possible return in an Irving trade. The second is to do whatever it takes to keep James in Cleveland. Both objectives can be aligned as the best way to keep James is by finding the right deal for Irving.
When taking into account Irving’s immense talent and youth, the Cavs should be able to turn out a “two for one deal” of sorts.
Redoing this idea... gave NYK too much.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 23, 2017
Knicks also get top-7 protected Miami 1st from Phx.
Cavs also get Phx's top-10 protected 2018 1st. pic.twitter.com/eS7q9YLqiZ
Something like this would be ideal. Take away the 2018 first round pick and it would still be adequate. The return of Carmelo Anthony and Eric Bledsoe still leaves the Cavs as the best team in the Eastern Conference and potentially allows them to match up with Golden State better than they did last year. There is also the deal for Derrick Rose the Cavs offered still hanging in the balance. Obviously, we cannot predict exactly what deal the Cavs will eventually make, but something along the lines of this potential trade is what the Cavs should be looking for.
It is a colossal understatement to say that the Cavs off-season hasn’t gone according to plan, but the good news is, it’s all still salvageable. Chauncey Billups was never the greatest candidate. Altman is more qualified and has done a good job with the little he has had to work with so far.
The Irving trade request was shocking. But let’s be honest. He is an unbelievable scorer, but he isn’t Russell Westbrook. He’s not going go somewhere else and average a triple-double all of a sudden. He still can’t defend, isn’t a great passer and is a very complicated guy. If the Cavs stay focused on this season and not what they can get in regards to the future, they can still be a championship-caliber team this season. And with No. 23 in wine and gold, they always have a shot. I am willing to bet James’ focus for 2017-18 remains the same, as should the organization’s.