It has been a busy off-season so far in the NBA, and quite possibly might be the busiest in league history. You don’t usually see a slew of All-Stars traded during the off-season but four All-Stars – Paul George, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap (must be something about the name Paul) – have been moved in 2017.
Recent reports that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade have taken over the talk of the sports world. With nonstop Kyrie Irving trade talks, I decided to dive into best case scenario trades for all 30 teams in the league. Let’s start with the East.
The Hawks receive: Kyrie Irving
The Cavaliers receive: Dennis Schroeder, DeAndre Bembry and a future first round pick.
The Hawks more than likely don’t want to trade for Kyrie Irving as they are in a retooling mode. They have gutted their roster and want to build around the young talents of Prince, Schroeder and Collins. The Cavaliers would probably embrace a young talent like Schroeder for Irving, but ultimately, they would want something better in return.
The Celtics receive: Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson
The Cavaliers receive: Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford
The Celtics will be considered one of the teams to provide the most assets for the Cavaliers but no way is Danny Ainge going to trade young assets to a team that he is trying to compete with. The Celtics have a rebounding issue and Thompson would fill that void. Whether you disagree or not, Irving is a better scorer than Isaiah Thomas and would benefit from playing in a Brad Stevens like offense. This also would allow Kyrie to play the shooting guard some if Smart or Rozier wanted to play the one.
For the Cavaliers, they acquire a veteran big man who can actually score the basketball. Horford is more polished than Thompson but he does indeed cost quite a bit more. Thomas is a guy that can really create off the dribble and shoots the ball well. While he is small, he plays with the heart of a 7-footer. This trade will help the Cavaliers win right now but it does indeed setup the Celtics for a brighter future. I think this trade talk would gain traction but I think with both teams competing against one another the deal would ultimately fall through.
The Nets Receive: Kyrie Irving
The Cavaliers Receive: D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a future pick
Cleveland makes this deal for three reasons: 1) they want to get younger and are going to restart this franchise. 2) the trade sheds 10-million dollars off their salary. 3) the Cavaliers give the Nets more talent, making the Celtics’ pick worse than expected and harder for them to use as a sweetener to add a star in the future.
The Nets make this deal because it’s Kyrie Irving. The Nets have hadn’t a star on this team since the trade for Deron Williams. This trade will 100% never happen, but if it did, the following reasons would be why.
In a three-term deal, he Hornets receive: Kyrie Irving, Danny Green and Kyle Anderson
The Cavaliers receive: LaMarcus Aldridge and Kemba Walker
The Spurs receive: Tristian Thompson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Well, talk about a mega-blockbuster deal. The Hornets have not had much success with Kemba Walker running the show but he is still a solid basketball player that puts up good numbers. They would acquire a more talented point guard to go with their roster and someone who is a much better shooter from distance. In addition, they would add two solid role players from the Spurs in Danny Green and Kyle Anderson.
The Cavaliers lose Kyrie and Thompson but bring in an All-Star level player to play alongside LeBron and Love in the front court. They add a solid point guard replacement who can fill the void of Kyrie. The Spurs and Aldridge have had issues the past few seasons and moving him would benefit both sides.
If the Spurs could acquire Love instead of Thompson, I think they would go that route, but they get better defensively in adding a rim protector and shot blocker in Thompson. The Spurs also grab a Popovich player in MKG who they could really turn into an elite defender. He might not have the shot, but his defensive ability would make them even tougher against the Warriors.
You could ultimately have Thompson, MKG, Leonard, Gay and Mills on the floor, closing out games defensively for you. That’d be extremely hard to score on. I think all sides would be intrigued but you rarely see stars being traded for stars.
The Bulls receive: Kyrie Irving, Channing Frye and Tristian Thompson
The Cavaliers receive: Dwyane Wade, Robin Lopez, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis
The Bulls just traded Jimmy Butler for Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine but right now Dunn is unproven and Irving is proven. You add a starting point guard and center to your young talent of Lavine, Markkanen and Valentine. While you don’t want to give up Dunn or Portis, you know Portis is not a part of the future after drafting Markkanen and Irving replaces Dunn.
As for the Cavaliers, you add LeBron James’s best friend, Dwyane Wade. You also supplement your bench with young talent to secure yourself of some future if LeBron and Wade do leave at the end of the season.
The Lopez-Thompson swap is actually an interesting dynamic. Thompson averaged 8 points, 9 rebounds and Lopez averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds. The dropoff from Thompson to Lopez is there, but it’s not a major plummet. You also have to consider that you are acquiring younger talent as well so you have to give up something to get something. I think Chicago would be reluctant to give upon Dunn after working hard the last two NBA Drafts to acquire him, but I think both teams would be intrigued by the trade.
The Pistons Receive: Kyrie Irving and Channing Frye
The Cavaliers Receive: Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris
It’s no surprise that Stan Van Gundy wants a new point guard and this trade would get him that. This would also allow him to trade Reggie Jackson for another position without worrying about his point guard depth. Frye is an expiring contract that just matches up with the salaries here.
The Cavaliers would possibly benefit most from this deal: Bradley is a terrific 3 and D type of player that would fit well with LeBron James. He can handle the point but he can play the shooting guard as well. Tobias Harris is still proving himself and coming off the bench in Detroit has helped that. If you insert a young talented forward who can play the three or the four with Thompson, Love, LeBron and Bradley, you have a talented team going forward. I think this is a trade that both teams would talk about but I think Cleveland would want more since Bradley is a free agent next season. A future pick or possibly Stanley Johnson might need to be included in this deal, but this would be a good starting ground for both teams.
The Pacers receive: Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert
The Cavaliers receive: Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph, Glenn Robinson III and two-1st round draft picks.
If you were to talk to a Pacers fan, they would say “this is a ripoff trade”. But in all honesty, the Pacers’ best assets are picks and Myles Turner. Turner isn’t going anywhere. The Cavaliers don’t want to rebuild with LeBron still there so the deal is never going to happen. However, if the Cavaliers want to rebuild and they made this deal at the deadline once they knew Indiana would be lottery bound, they could consider.
The Pacers starting five would be Irving, Oladipo, Bogdanovic, Sabonis and Turner: That is significantly better than what they will have going into next season. Like I said earlier though, this trade is one of the least likely to happen.
The Heat receive: Kyrie Irving
The Cavaliers receive: Justise Winslow and Goran Dragic
The Miami Heat are a great fit for Kyrie Irving. Pairing him up with Erik Spolstra and Pat Riley is an ideal situation. The Heat get a very solid guard in return who can create off the dribble and can be a shot up shooter. His defense is probably better, too. Winslow is still a raw, young talent that the Cavaliers could use in a bench role. Instead of playing Deron Williams or Channing Frye, they could use Winslow with Shumpert off the bench to really increase their defensive strategy. I am actually intrigued by this trade idea, but it isn’t my favorite.
The Bucks receive: Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert
The Cavaliers receive: John Henson, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton
This is one of the trades I heard Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discuss on ESPN.com’s Lowe Post Podcast and I loved it. The Bucks need a guy who can just get buckets on his own and Shumpert adds to their defensive wing help. The Cavaliers could slide Middleton into the starting lineup and play LeBron at the point.
The Cavaliers would be huge on both ends of the floor and Middleton can defend as well. Brogdon is the reigning Rookie of the Year and looks to be a solid contributor going forward. He is a good defender.
Lastly, John Henson is too skinny to play significant minutes but the Cavaliers have been desperate for a big man off the bench who can protect the rim and Henson can do that in a limited bench role. I am a huge fan of this trade and I would love to see it go down.
New York Knicks
The Knicks receive: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye
The Cavaliers receive: Carmelo Anthony and Courtney Lee
New York has made it clear they will be trading Anthony to his preferred choice of team. Melo has stated that he would go to Houston or Cleveland. With Kyrie being on the table I doubt that Melo wants to go to Cleveland or that Cleveland wants to deal Irving for a one-year rental of Melo and few years of Courtney Lee.
If the Cavaliers are trying to win now, Melo could buy in to playing with LeBron, but they could both leave after the seasons over via free agency and leave the Knicks with nothing in return. As for the Knicks, if they can turn Melo into anything of decent value it’s a win. The rumor is that the Knicks aren’t getting Kyrie unless they give up Porzingis and we all know that isn’t happening.
The Magic receive: Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert
The Cavaliers receive: Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier
In this deal, the Cavaliers get two young players to go with a veteran guard who can score the basketball.
Fournier is one of the most underrated players in the league. He can really shoot the basketball. You also insure yourself with young talent in Payton and Gordon as well. The Cavaliers could either try to win now with Love, Fournier and LeBron or package Love in a deal to land another playmaker of some sort and start Gordon at the starting power forward spot. Either way, this deal gives the Cavaliers some room to make moves.
However, the Cavaliers can do so much better for themselves than these mentioned players. The Magic would love to have a young team based on Kyrie Irving, Jonathan Isaac and Terrance Ross, but realistically this deal would be hard to pull off.
The 76ers receive: Kyrie Irving
The Cavaliers receive: Robert Covington, Jahlil Okafor and Markelle Fultz
Slowly but surely, the 76ers’ 1st overall pick is being overlooked at the point guard position among this year’s draft class. Lonzo Ball, DeAaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr. stole the show in Summer League and made a lot of casual NBA fans forget about Fultz. The way the 76ers roster is built, they could use Irving and Simmons as primary ball handlers. You would have to lethal shooters with Redick and Irving on the wings while Simmons and Embiid run the pick and roll/pop.
The Cavaliers would get the first overall pick, Okafor who could serve as a nice backup big and Covington who is one of the most undervalued wing defenders in the league. This deal actually helps both teams out, but I can’t see the first pick of this years’ class being dealt for someone who could leave in two seasons.
The Raptors receive: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Tristian Thompson
The Cavaliers receive: Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry
I like this deal for a few reasons. Kyle Lowry is really good and he is the tail end of his prime. The mystery that is Jonas Valanciunas can be worked on in Cleveland. I feel like playing with LeBron James would elevate both Jonas and Lowry’s overall game. The Raptors would get a scoring point guard who can relieve the pressure off of DeRozan. You also add a center in Thompson to the mix to play with Ibaka. Lastly, you use Shumpert as a ‘3 and D’ guy off the bench.
The Raptors desperately want to move Jonas off their books and if they can, they might have to throw in a future pick. This deal hurts the Raptors chemistry though and hurts their perimeter defense. The Cavaliers would be better defensively with Lowry but he has been one to disappear in big playoff games. I think the Cavaliers want younger talent overall, but this deal isn’t as bad as you may think off hand.
The Wizards receive: Kyrie Irving
The Cavaliers receive: John Wall
How interesting of a deal would this be? The Cavaliers and Wizards make a straight point guard swap with nothing in between. Now if you want to make it a little more interesting you can throw Shumpert and Frye on to the Irving package and ship out Mahinmi with Wall to solidify that backup big man role, but that is neither here nor there.
The Cavaliers would love to find a way to land DeMarcus Cousins from New Orleans to pair with Wall. Even if LeBron leaves in 2018, the Cavaliers would still have Wall and Cousins to build around.
If Washington wants to hand the reigns over to Brad Beal, this deal could help them do just that. Playing Irving alongside Beal would be deadly for the NBA. That backcourt would put up serious numbers. While superstar trades don’t ever happen like this, I would be highly intrigued to see how these two teams finished the season if they switched starting point guards.
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