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Saturday, July 22, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: Where Does Kyrie Irving Fit?

By @TrueGodImmortal

Imagine you've been watching the free agency and post Draft fallout and all of a sudden, you hear Kyrie Irving wants to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Imagine you've seen Jimmy Butler traded to Minnesota for virtually nothing, you saw Paul George traded to the Thunder for basically scraps, and Gordon Hayward leave Utah in the dust for a shot at greatness in Boston. Now, with Kyrie asking for a trade out of Cleveland, what makes the most sense for him and his future? Let's take a look at the teams he requested and where he fit the best.

*San Antonio Spurs

-Please don't use Kyrie in Duke under Coach K as an example of Kyrie working well in a system. This was back when he was young and hadn't developed his game to the best of his ability. He's still not quite in his prime, but his scoring and his ability with handles are top notch. However, I think this is a bad fit for him. Coach Pop has a system in place and promotes defensive awareness and Kyrie doesn't feel like the right player for that. Also, another element is that Kyrie is already tired of being in the shadow of LeBron and being under another top 5 player in Kawhi isn't the smartest move. Plus, what assets do the Spurs have to give up that would make sense? Lamarcus Aldridge and Danny Green isn't enough value to really make the trade make sense. It doesn't make sense for the Cavs to make this trade and Kyrie doesn't fit enough in that system IMO.

*Minnesota Timberwolves 

-Now, on paper, this makes sense, but in reality, it doesn't. Kyrie being traded there would require the Timberwolves to give up at LEAST one of three players. You either have to trade Jimmy Butler (which makes no sense for Minnesosta), Andrew Wiggins (who I doubt the Cavs want since they traded him away for Kevin Love), or Karl Anthony Towns (which is not happening). Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford is not a serious deal for Kyrie and if they don't get rid of one of the three big time players, Kyrie isn't going to Minnesota. It would be great if he was a free agent who could join the Wolves as is, but since that's not possible, it's unlikely he heads there.

*Miami Heat 

-Logically, this is probably a good option for him. Playing with Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, and Hassan Whiteside would be fun, but once again there's the biggest issue looming: Miami would have to trade one or two of their most valuable assets and Miami probably doesn't seem willing to give up a Dragic and  Waiters for Kyrie. Still, this is a little more possible than the other two destinations listed so far. Still, I don't think this is the team he will end up one. Now, onto the most likely destination for Kyrie.

*New York Knicks 

-The most logical of his choices. The deal that makes the most sense. The Knicks could use a star that they could embrace after the sour experience Melo went through. Kyrie playing with Tim Hardaway Jr. And Porzingis could be fun times for New York. The Knicks aren't begging Melo to stay anymore and Melo would rather be in Cleveland than New York anyways. A Carmelo and first round pick for Kyrie is about as close to equal value that the Cavs will get and it's the smartest deal to do. The Knicks keep Tim Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis, while getting Kyrie in the fold, and the Cavs get two important pieces as well: Melo, who takes the role that Kyrie had as a scorer, and a future first round pick for when the inevitable happens and LeBron leaves. For a team as strapped for cash and players like the Cavs are, bringing in Carmelo and possibly Eric Bledsoe if they can manage a three team trade with the Suns is very smart. Either way, the Cavs are fucked, so get something while you can before it all falls down.

There are other dark horse candidates like Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, but there's not much that remains appealing about those particular deals. The most comfortable place for Kyrie to land is close to his home with the New York Knicks, and with Kyrie being from New Jersey, it just makes sense. Whatever the case will be, the Cavs need to get a deal done sooner than later and focus on life after Kyrie. The Knicks provide the best chance of that. I think Kyrie ends up in New York when this is all said and done.