By: Kenny Doyle
After weeks of speculation and passive aggressive jabs through social media, Kyrie Irving is still a Cavalier as of 9:43 EST on Friday, August 11th, leaving many NBA fans asking why?
It’s been 21 days since the news broke that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, and we can safely assume about a month since he made his desires known to the Cavaliers front office. Many expected Kyrie to be traded and for things to move rather quickly, and the situation in Cleveland has just been getting more and more toxic ever since. It seems as though the relationship between Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers has reached irreparable levels. So what’s the hold up? Why isn’t Kyrie gone? Piecing together the key reports that have come out can be helpful.
1. Cleveland wants 2 high level players and a pick for Kyrie
2. The Suns won’t give up Josh Jackson
3. The Celtics are secretly on Kyrie’s list
4. Carmelo won’t waive his no trade clause for the Cavs
Cleveland has made it known that they want two high level players and a pick in exchange for Kyrie. There are only teams that can offer that: the Celtics and the Suns. The Knicks could as well, but the report out of New York is that Carmelo will not waive his no trade clause to go to Cleveland, which would pretty much eliminate them as a destination. The Celtics are becoming more and more relevant in the Kyrie Irving trade discussions by the day. After former Cavs GM David Griffin went on ESPN’s The Jump earlier this week and made it clear that the Celtics were an apparent mystery team on Kyrie’s list, the Kyrie to Boston speculation became serious. Even HBO’s Bill Simmons appears swept up in it.
It comes down to what most trades come down to, each side overvaluing their players and their leverage. The Suns made it clear that they will not give up Josh Jackson to get Kyrie. The Suns are overvaluing Jackson and that's what’s keeping them from getting this deal done with the Cavs. If the Suns want to keep Jackson to guard opposing wings because of the defensive disaster that would be a Devin Booker-Kyrie Irving backcourt, they’re making a mistake. They can get another defender to fit next to Kyrie and Devin, but they can’t get another Kyrie Irving. It is extremely unlikely that Jackson ever gets to be the level of player that Kyrie is. This deal should be done with the Suns, but they are overvaluing a player who hasn’t even played an NBA game yet.
Both sides are waiting for the other to cave on their trade demands, and the deciding piece is Jackson. What makes this interesting is Boston. If Boston is in on Irving and they are willing to give up Thomas, Brown, and a pick, Cleveland would have to choose between either taking a lesser offer or trading Kyrie Irving to their biggest Eastern Conference competitor. This could be why no deal is done yet. Cleveland is grappling with the fact that the best offer they have for Kyrie is from the team with the best chance to dethrone them in the east.
Cleveland would probably try to use Boston to get a better offer from Phoenix to get like the Pacers tried to play the Thunder off the Celtics and Paul George. Indiana threatened to trade Paul George elsewhere unless Boston upped the offer. When Ainge called their bluff, Indiana pulled the trigger. Could a similar situation play out with Kyrie and the Cavs? It’s possible. If the Cavaliers plan is to threaten the Suns by saying they’ll trade Kyrie to the Celtics, it would be tough to see the Suns taking that seriously. Trading Kyrie to the Celtics would be too much of a risk for Cleveland if they're primary goal is to win next season. There is no way they would want to make the team they’re directly competing with in the East better.... Or so we think. But, if the Celtics have the better offer and the Cavaliers truly want to plan for life post-LeBron, maybe they would want to move him to the Celtics.
If the Suns would surely dare the Cavaliers to trade Kyrie to their Eastern Conference foes. Would the Cavaliers go through with it? We’ll just have to wait and see, for as long as the Cavaliers want us to wait.
Photo: (Total Pro Sports)