In a bizarre headline that broke yesterday afternoon, it appears that Kyrie Irving has requested to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. This shocked the NBA world. Brian Windhorst was fucking shook on ESPN, claiming that he has no idea why Kyrie would want to leave the Cavs and whining how it isn’t fair to Lebron. Well gee Windy, I think I know why Kyrie would want out. He knows that the Cavs can’t beat the Warriors, he knows that Lebron is gone after this season and he knows the Cavs future is screwed. They gave way too many people way too much money and have literally no first round picks in the next few years. But enough about why Kyrie wants out. Let’s explore what it means for the rest of the league.
Where will he go?
ESPN insiders such as Chris Haynes have reported that Irving gave the Cavs a list of preferred destinations that included the Knicks, Timberwolves, Heat, and Spurs. Kyrie is from New York so it makes sense he would want to return home and play for the Knicks. I bet Lebron would take Melo as a concentration as a consolation prize if Kyrie really wants to leave. Then the Knicks future would be somewhat encouraging all of a sudden, having Kyrie and Kristaps for the future, a nice start. As for the Timberwolves, I don’t see how this could happen. One would think Jeff Teague would have to go back to Cleveland in this deal because he is a starting caliber PG that would not want to come off the bench and since he was just signed he is not eligible to be traded until 12/15. I think Kyrie wants this deal done sooner rather than later. The Heat are mentioned because Miami is always a popular destination. Dragic going back to Cleveland would be acceptable for the Cavs. Dragic is not as good of a player as Irving, but he doesn’t need to be when they have Lebron. The one team of this group that Kyrie could really make some serious noise right away on if a deal works out would be the Spurs. A starting lineup of Irving, Danny Green, Kawhi, Aldridge, and Pau Gasol would be a fantastic one. I’m not saying they take down the Warriors, but I am saying they could put up one hell of a fight.
What happens in the East?
If Irving does leave, how would the East shape up? Could a team like the Wizards, Raptors, or Celtics make the finals over the Cavs? I think it’s possible. The Raptors seem the least likely of the three to beat a Lebron James lead team in a series, but it doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Lowry, DeRozan, and Ibaka would all simply have to play to their max potential, which obviously doesn’t always happen in the postseason. The Celtics got better this season, acquiring Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, and Aron Baynes. Losing Avery Bradley hurts on the defensive end of the floor. However, specifically against the Cavs post trade, there would be no Kyrie Irving to guard. Head to head, the Wizards might actually match up best against the Cavs and could potentially give them a run for their money. You have to remember, there were stretches where Irving carried the load for the Cavs in the playoffs. Either way, nobody from the East is beating someone in the West in the finals anyways, wheteher it’s the Warriors, Rockets, or Spurs representing the Western Conference.