Knicks? Wolves? Suns? Heat? Cavs? Where Will Kyrie Irving Land?

Matthew Jordan

Monday, July 24, 2017 4:56 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 24, 2017 4:56 PM UTC

What, you thought the NBA was in its dead time of the year after all the major free agents had signed new deals? Not so fast, my friend! Now Cleveland All-Star Kyrie Irving is on the trading block, and BetDSI offers a prop on his next team.

Irving Tired Of LeBron’s Shadow

Frankly, this NBA offseason has been much more interesting than those boring 2017 playoffs were. It was assumed that the Warriors would cruise to their second NBA title in three years and they did so easily, losing only one game. The playoffs overall were so short with so many quick series that the NBA salary cap for next season will be a bit lower than expected.

All of the major free agents have re-signed with their current teams or moved on – unless you consider Derrick Rose a major free agent, which I don’t (update: he's set to sign with the Cavs). This is supposed to be the NBA’s dead period for a few months, but all that silence was broken late last week with the news that Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving had demanded a trade. Apparently, Irving wants to be the “man” on a team and not just a sidekick to LeBron James. That’s an incredibly selfish way to look at things as Irving would rather have a chance to score 30 points a night than potentially win championships alongside the greatest player of his era.

It’s the latest piece of bad news for Cleveland this offseason. Highly-regarded general manager David Griffin wasn’t brought back, which didn’t make James happy. Griffin reportedly was close to trades for Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler or Pacers All-Star Paul George before it was no longer his job to negotiate such trades. Irving’s name had been bandied about in those deals, and that was another impetus for Irving to demand a trade.

So three things will happen here: the Cavaliers call Irving’s bluff and try to win another title in 2017-18 as currently constructed; they trade Irving for a win-now veteran; or they trade the 25-year-old for a similar player on the rise to be the face of the franchise in case LeBron does leave in free agency next winter as many expect.

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Irving Has 4 Preferences

I believe the Cavs dealing Irving for a veteran star is the most unlikely because that’s too short-sighted with no promises from James that he will stay put. So forget about Irving to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. Irving has let it be known he prefers to be dealt one of four teams: the Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat or Knicks.

On BetDSI’s NBA odds, the Knicks are +400 favorites. An Irving for Anthony trade wouldn’t work straight up for salary reasons. The Cavs would absolutely consider a deal involving Irving if Kristaps Porzingis was coming back, but New York would be incredibly stupid to do that. There’s really no fit here unless New York gets a third team involved.

The Spurs are +450 second-favorites. Cleveland would gladly take Kawhi Leonard back for Irving, but the Spurs wouldn’t trade Leonard straight up for LeBron. Irving for LaMarcus Aldridge works straight up, but the Cavaliers have no need for Aldridge, whose career is trending down. I don’t see a fit here.

Miami is +550 on the NBA odds. How about Irving for veteran point guard Goran Dragic and promising young forward Justise Winslow? That works in the trade machine. Cleveland gets its Irving replacement and a young player with upside.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are +600. Irving is friendly with Butler, who landed with the Wolves on a draft night trade from Chicago. The problem here is that it likely would cost something like Jeff Teague, who just signed with Minnesota, and Andrew Wiggins. Teague can’t be traded until December 15, and the Wolves had been preparing to sign Wiggins to a huge new extension. Players used to avoid Minnesota like the plague, so it shows you how things can change quickly in the NBA. Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are pushing team management to get Irving.

That Irving isn’t traded before the season starts is +800 and that it’s any team not listed above is +200. I lean the latter number. The Phoenix Suns have the assets, led by point guard Eric Bledsoe (a vastly superior defender to Irving), to get this done either directly with Cleveland or in a three-team deal.

It’s too early to judge what the Cavs’ future looks like until Irving is moved. They are still -125 Eastern Conference favorites at BetOnline.

NBA Free Pick: Any Other Team (+200)Best Line Offered: BetDSI
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