• OTG Staff

Roundtable: Should the Cavs Trade Kyrie Irving?

Should the Cavs trade Kyrie Irving?.......

Well, they already did but here are our takes anyway.

Dicky Fung - @fungo24

Simply put, the answer is no. Trading a player of Kyrie Irving's caliber will not improve the Cavaliers chances of winning another championship. Needless to say, Cleveland will also have a hard time getting equal value back for their All-Star point guard, especially if the whole league has been put on notice that Irving isn't on good terms with teammate LeBron James.

Of course, unless Cleveland is willing to get a promising young player in return that can both make an impact now and provide a future for Cleveland, the Cavaliers should hold out any offers for now. There are reports stating Kyrie had a misunderstanding with LeBron pushing for a Kyrie trade in attempt for the Cavs to get Paul George and Eric Bledsoe.

Reality is that Bledsoe isn't a better player than Kyrie, nor can the Cavs trade for Paul George now that he is in Oklahoma City. With or without Kyrie, Cavaliers are still favorites to head back to the NBA Finals. The Cavaliers should be wise and retain Irving because he has proven he can perform at the big stage. They need to remind Kyrie Irving that playing with the best player on Earth in LeBron James isn't a luxury most NBA players get. Perhaps the Cavaliers also need to tell Irving he makes them a better team because they have won a championship off his heroics in the NBA Finals just a year ago. The Cavaliers don't have much athletes to match today's position-less NBA, and they should attempt to trade Kevin Love at the trade deadline instead for either more athleticism or a player that can help counter the Golden State Warriors.

Jac Manuell - @TheJManJBT

Short answer yes, long answer yes, but only if the deal is right. If you're the Cavs front office you're not going to just give up an All-Star and offensive savant unless you get a serviceable return. A return of Bledsoe, Jackson and a high first rounder would be a solid return for both teams. There's no way the Knicks are giving up Porzingis (especially now Phil's gone) and the rumoured Heat deal of Dragic, Winslow and a first round pick doesn't wow the Cavs by any stretch. It's unlikely they'll get any better than what Phoenix can offer unless they can find a third team to deal with.

The pressure is on Dan Gilbert to make the right move after he stupidly called out Kevin Pritchard for his lacklustre return for Paul George. With LeBron James also more than likely on the way out come season's end, Cleveland's clock is ticking to rebuild an ageing and muddled roster.

Matt Chin - @MattChinNBA

No, this isn’t the right time to trade Irving. The superstar trade market is ice cold for sellers. Perhaps they could have hauled in a monster package before the draft, but the market has already overreacted to the summer’s blockbuster trades, and Irving is younger than Jimmy Butler and under longer team control than Paul George. Josh Jackson, Jamal Murray, Jayson Tatum, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker are all reportedly off limits in Kyrie trade discussions. Under normal circumstances, I think they would be attainable pieces. Cleveland should wait to see if the market corrects itself.

In the meantime, maybe some cooling off time will cause LeBron and Kyrie to become copacetic again. Kobe and Shaq hated each other throughout the ’01 season, and they got over it by winning a ring. Cleveland is once again the favorite to win the East, but selling low on Uncle Drew would destroy that. It could be decades before they’re back to this level again (this is Cleveland sports we’re talking about after all). Even if LeBron jettisons for Los Angeles, a fourth straight Finals run might cause Kyrie to realize that his best option is in Cleveland with Kevin Love, who has never resisted the role of secondary fiddle.

That said, Koby Altman will have to monitor the situation closely. The modern Cavs seem to thrive in the face of off-court drama, but there’s never been this much broadcasted tension between their two best players. Dan Gilbert has exacerbated an already poisonous environment with the way he handled the David Griffin and Chauncey Billups sagas. The last thing the Cavs need is for two stars to be so publicly dejected that they end up losing them both for nothing.

Théo Salaun - @TheoSalaun

The current Cavaliers team isn’t enough to outduel the Warriors. Their Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love front court floated into the background and a scoring trifecta of LeBron, Kyrie, and JR can’t counterbalance all of the scoring Golden State does on the other end. If the Cavs can recoup some of their scoring output while bolstering their defense or finding impact in the paint, then yes — trade Kyrie now before the offers start lulling into the return that the Pacers got for Paul George. No one knows what was really available with the Eric Bledsoe and Josh Jackson trade, but those are conversations the Cavs should be actively having. If you can bring in substantial pieces without your guard play falling apart, then you take it. Although, that is assuming that Tyron Lue and LeBron are committed to a season with real offensive and defensive systems. If they want to keep taking turns with iso-ball then, by all means, keep Kyrie and his fancy dribbles.

Kyle Zwiazek - @Kyle_Zwiazek

The Cleveland Cavaliers are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to Kyrie Irving. The fact that the rest of the league knows Kyrie does not want to play on the Cavaliers anymore ruins any leverage that Cleveland had. That means there is only one option. Ignore his request and make him play in Cleveland. According to Spotrac, Kyrie Irving has three more years left on his contract(Year 3 is a player option). He can say he wants to get traded all he wants, but Kyrie is employed by the Cavaliers. The only way the Cavs win another championship is if they have a star of greater or equal value to Irving playing with LeBron James. At this point, no team in the NBA is willing to give up the talent that would make sense in return for a player with the skill set of Irving.

The move is for the Cavaliers to talk to the disgruntled star and pitch the idea of championships. Kyrie Irving wants to be the guy somewhere, but he can be the guy when he is 28 years old and a free agent. It would be a career mistake for him to go somewhere else unless there is an opportunity for a championship. Cleveland needs to add more pieces to compete with the Golden State Warriors, but they cannot afford to let Irving go in the process of trying to win another NBA Championship. Irving will play if he is still under contract in Cleveland. If he does not that will ruin his trade value even more.

Matthew Golda - @mgolda1216

Let me start off by saying that in a day and age of super teams in the NBA, it was truly refreshing to hear from someone wanting to blaze their own path of glory and be the centerpiece of a team, or at least be away from the greatest player of his generation. Kyrie Irving is a dynamic offensive talent who has shown the ability to win huge playoff games. With that said, the Cavs would be crazy not to trade Kyrie. The writing is on the wall for this Cavs team, as the speculation will continue to grow about LeBron’s pending move to Los Angeles next offseason. Surely, the Cavs don’t want to risk losing one of the league’s best offensive players for nothing? There are plenty of suitors out there. It’s just whether or not Cleveland thinks they can make one more run at the title, which would determine the types of players they get in return.

Cleveland’s hands are definitely tied a bit, since every team now knows Kyrie wants to leave, so their leverage will not be great. However, just because they should trade him does not mean they need to do so before the season. If moving him is the end game here, which as I said it should be, then waiting until midseason is also an option. There is always a desperate team that will be looking to quickly improve, so the cloud of Kyrie’s trade demands are canceled out by a team’s desire to improve immediately.

Dennis Dow - @dennisdownba

I think the Cavs have to trade Kyrie. While he is an elite one-on-one scorer that can get you baskets when you need it and that is invaluable for the playoffs, the Cavs have to think about their future. If LeBron leaves you have a team of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, and Kyle Korver. That group eats up 95 million of your payroll meaning you have no room to sign anybody and you are not going to attract the veterans that you have in the past because you do not have LeBron. If you take LeBron off of the team they are no longer contenders and a fringe playoff team even in the East. I think that the Cavs need to try and gain some flexibility in terms of their cap situation and their lack of youth on the roster. Kyrie to me is the first move, which should be followed by Kevin Love and any of the others that you can move. LeBron has a no trade clause, but if you are able to convince him that the rebuild is starting now, you might convince him to waive that clause and go ahead and trade him as well. In this scenario, the Cavs have the opportunity to start over. This move is extremely risky, but the alternative is that you contend this year with Kyrie, then James leaves and you have Irving for a year before he and Love can both leave. This is a chance for the Cavaliers to protect themselves and get assets back for their superstars. It will also enable them to get out of the luxury tax.

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