3 Reasons Why the Cleveland Cavaliers Will Never Win a Kyrie Irving Trade
Let's say I'm Bruce Springsteen's bassist.
That means performing at sold out arenas, enjoying first class accommodations, and playing "Born to Run" each and every show. Cushy gig, right?
Now let's say I wake up one day and decide I'm not getting enough bass solos. Let's say I think it's more important to be the star of a lousy band than it is to play alongside one of the finest to ever take the stage.
Let's say I'm so upset about the whole thing that I demand The Boss trade me to Nickelback.
Literally everybody everywhere would say, "Dude. Seriously?" Everybody. Everywhere.
Admittedly, Kyrie does indeed have some legitimate reasons to want out of Ohio.
The Cavs' offseason has been a veritable festival of dysfunction, highlighted (or, more accurately, low-lighted) by their bumpy divorce with general manager David Griffin, their lowball salary offer to his potential replacement in Chauncey Billups, and LeBron's lack of willingness and/or desire to recruit free agents to Cleveland.
The fact that the whispers about a potential LeBron James departure after next season are getting louder can't be sitting well with the 25-year-old former Dookie.
It's important to note that the Cavaliers don't have to trade Irving -- he's under contract for two more seasons, and Cleveland GM-in-waiting, Koby Altman, could simply tell the guard to suck it up. But then they'll have a pouty Kyrie on their hands, and nobody wants that.
LeBron giving it to Kyrie, who's not having any of it. pic.twitter.com/3LlIpKQ1fs
â€” BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) April 2, 2016
There's no easy solution to this, but one thing is for certain: If the Cavs do indeed move Irving, they'll lose the trade. Here are three reasons why.
1. The Market Ain't Havin' It
Cleveland will have to receive a point guard in any deal, because as of right now, their only backups at the one-spot are Kay Felder (meh) and Jose Calderon (yuck). Thing is, in terms of nERD -- numberFire's proprietary metric that measures the total contribution of a player throughout the course of a season -- there were only six better performers at point guard last season, five of whom are all but immovable.
|Isaiah Thomas||Boston Celtics||16.3|
|Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||15.9|
|Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder||15.1|
|Chris Paul||Houston Rockets||12.8|
|Kyle Lowry||Toronto Raptors||11.3|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||10.7|
|Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||8.1|
An Isaiah Thomas-to-Cleveland deal is possible, but would likely have to involve some of Boston's multitude of future draft picks going to Cleveland, and Celts GM Danny Ainge has proven to be notoriously stingy with future assets.
After that, nERD-ly speaking, it isn't pretty:
|George Hill||Utah Jazz||5.9|
|John Wall||Washington Wizards||5.6|
|Kemba Walker||Charlotte Hornets||5.5|
|Goran Dragic||Miami Heat||5.1|
|Jeff Teague||Indiana Pacers||4.7|
The nERD dropoff from Irving to Hill and his ilk is a whopping 2.2 and beyond, a massive step down, and a step the Cavs would be loathe to take...but they might have no choice.
2. Kyrie is Being Really Picky
If the Cleveland front office cedes to Kyrie's wishes, their return on the point guard in a two-team deal will be less than good.
|Team||PG1 / nERD||PG2 / nERD||PG3 / nERD|
|San Antonio||Tony Parker / -0.6 nERD||Dejounte Murray / -1.4 nERD||Bryn Forbes / -1.1 nERD|
|Minnesota||Jeff Teague / 4.7 nERD||Tyus Jones / -0.4 nERD||n/a|
|Miami||Goran Dragic / 5.1 nERD||n/a||n/a|
|New York||Frank Ntilikina / n/a||Chasson Randle / 0.1 nERD||n/a|
Jeff Teague would be a competent replacement for Irving, but, as a newly-signed free agent, he can't be included in any deal until December 15. If Irving and/or the Cavs are willing to wait that long, some iteration of Irving for Teague and Andrew Wiggins might be interesting to both franchises.
If the Spurs, the Knicks, or the Heat were to enter the Kyrie sweepstakes, another team would have to get involved. Which brings us to...
3. Seriously, Who Wants to Help The Cavs?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have appeared in the NBA Finals for three consecutive seasons, and, according to pretty much everybody who knows anything about odds, they're favored to do it again next season. Hard to imagine a third team will have an urge to step in and improve the Cavs' chances of destroying them again.
That said, Bill Simmons came up with a semi-reasonable proposition.
Redoing this idea... gave NYK too much.
Knicks also get top-7 protected Miami 1st from Phx.
Cavs also get Phx's top-10 protected 2018 1st. pic.twitter.com/eS7q9YLqiZ
â€” Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 23, 2017
Listen, if you're a franchise forced to give up a 25-year-old All-Star who still has room to improve his game, you're not going to win the trade. But if the Cavaliers get creative, it might not be bad.
Okay, it'll be bad. But maybe not that bad.