Back when David Griffin was still running the Cavs’ front office, the team was reportedly on the verge of a blockbuster deal that would have netted the team both Paul George and Eric Bledsoe.
The Cavs were “close” to sending Irving to Phoenix in a three-team trade that also included the Indiana Pacers, multiple sources with knowledge of the deal told The Athletic. Under the proposed trade, Paul George and Eric Bledsoe would come to Cleveland, Irving and Channing Frye were headed to Phoenix and the Pacers would’ve received the No. 4 pick in the draft along with Iman Shumpert and Jared Dudley.
Per Lloyd, these trade talks were part of the reason why Irving was upset with the Cavs this summer. The team then tried to restart the three-team deal with Kevin Love going to the Nuggets instead of dealing Irving to the Suns. Those trade talks fell apart, George was traded to the Thunder and Irving ended up on the the Celtics.
Would this trade have better for the Cavs? In the short term, the answer is almost certainly yes. Pairing George with LeBron James would have given the Cavs an ideal modern forward duo and two players with the size and athleticism to defend Kevin Durant in a possible fourth Finals matchup against the Warriors. Bledsoe, while not as dynamic on offensive as Isaiah Thomas, is better on defense and simply taller. It’s easier to see him staying on the floor vs. Golden State.
But, as Lloyd reports, the Cavs highly valuable the Nets’ 2018 first round pick that they received from the Celtics. With LeBron’s future in doubt, the Thomas-Jae-Crowder-Ante Zizic-pick package is both a win now and prepare for the future move. The possible Suns deal would have firmly be in the win now category.
So, would it have been better? It depends.
Which trade do you think would have been better for the Cavs?
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The Suns three-team deal
The Kyrie-Celtics deal