While the NBA offseason has slipped into hibernation, Brian Windhorst of ESPN grabbed a pointy stick and jabbed the league right in the hindquarters with a bombshell report Friday afternoon.
Windhorst reported that the six-year veteran point guard and former No. 1 pick has requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, in an attempt to play for a team where he can have a larger role.
Kyrie Irving requests a trade from Cavs, sources told ESPN. LeBron James was blindsided and is disappointed: https://t.co/54afvYge9V— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 21, 2017
Here is a quote from Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, regarding the meeting his client had with Cavaliers management:
"Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team," Wechsler told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private."
Obviously, this is huge news. There are several teams that should be interested in acquiring Irving, who is among the best players in the league, and the Nuggets should be among those teams interested in trading for him. The question that arises is, what assets can be assembled into a trade package that the Cavaliers might be interested in?
Obviously the Nuggets aren’t moving Jokic. It’s just not an option, unless a handful of teams get higher than the moon and decide to trade a mega-superstar. But Jamal Murray should be on the table in a trade for Irving.
The Nuggets are hoping that Murray becomes Irving - a point guard that can score at any time, either going to the rim or shooting from the perimeter (I refer to these players as ball guards). Murray has shown flashes of elite ability to finish near the rim, with feathery soft touch, explosiveness, and out of this world balance. Irving is remarkably better at this - just watch this filth.
Whomever Tim Connelly ends up talking to in Cleveland - they still don’t have a general manager - he should just acquiesce to whatever draft pick compensation they ask for. Three future firsts? Okay, done.
The Nuggets would likely be picking in the mid-20s anyways, and the odds of them finding a contributor are unlikely. All you Tyler Lydon stans can sit down.
If the Cavaliers ask for players like Trey Lyles, Malik Beasley, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets should say yes. Let’s not pretend that the Cavaliers would take the Nuggets garbage and not Murray though - the Nuggets are likely either going to have to buy out Kenneth Faried or just ride out the remainder of his contract. He’s not going to be the centerpiece of an Irving trade.
The Nuggets could offer Faried, Murray, Barton, Beasley, and two first round picks, and I would be okay with that.
What would this mean for Denver
An Irving-Harris-Chandler-Millsap-Jokic starting lineup is the fourth-best team in the West. The Nuggets would have Jameer Nelson, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Monte Morris as backup guards behind Irving and Harris, and the Nuggets could use a lot of “two-point guard” lineups with Nelson-Irving, Mudiay-Irving, and such.
Irving’s skills on offense mean that the Nuggets would have a 1B to Jokic’s 1A on offense. The threat they would pose to other teams as a duo would be devastating. Irving’s ability to score off-ball would fit with the Nuggets as well, and the amount of playmaking on the court would be incredible.
Irving has three years remaining on his contract, and perhaps a couple trips deep into the playoffs (as well as piles of money) could convince Irving to stay. The Nuggets wouldn’t have to worry about paying Murray (or Beasley) in the future, and Irving could get that money.
Irving will be 26 years old during the 2017-18 season, and fits in the Nuggets timeline exceptionally well. It is so important for contenders to have an experienced point guard to lead the offense, and Irving has six seasons under his belt. He could be an elite difference maker for the next seven to nine years - that coincides very well with Jokic.
Bottom line, if this is for real, the Nuggets should be sending couriers bearing the finest craft beers to the Cavaliers front office, because this is a trade that could put the Nuggets over the edge and make them into real contenders in the Western Conference.
Should Denver be interested in Kyrie Irving?
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