Three Team Deal: Kyrie to Knicks; Melo, Bledsoe to Cavs
*Phoenix would also receive New York’s unprotected First-round pick in 2018.
The Knicks are in absolute shambles as it currently stands. However, their fortunes could quickly change if a deal along these parameters is executed. Irving and New York are the perfect match. The star guard would get to play under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Although Kristaps Porzingis looks to be a future All-Star, Irving would still be the unquestioned No. 1 option for the foreseeable future. Irving gets to play in the East where even the most flawed of teams has a chance to sneak into the postseason. A few crossovers and impossible circus layups would have Knicks fans chanting Irving’s name in no time.
The hiccup in this deal would be how a third team could get involved. A pure Carmelo-Kyrie swap doesn’t work monetarily, and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Cleveland from a basketball standpoint. A Carmelo-LeBron James-Kevin Love trio is simply a weird fit. Bledsoe is probably the most obtainable top-15 point guard in the league as it stands, and the Suns seem willing to take on bigger contracts if they can get value out of the deal.
Phoenix gets a (likely) top-10 pick from the Knicks in exchange for facilitating the deal and taking on Shumpert’s and Frye’s contracts.
Trade Likelihood: The same as a Microwaved Hot Pocket being cooked fully-through on its first try
Kyrie Takes His Talents to South Beach
If you’re a betting man, this proposed deal is a value pick.
The Heat share similar characteristics with the Knicks — other than the fact that Miami actually wins. Miami is a great market for a flashy, exciting player. Irving would get to be the No. 1 option alongside a defensive-minded Hassan Whiteside. Even with a decimated roster in 2017, coach Erik Spoelstra and the upstart Heat finished the season on a torrid 30-11 run — falling just short of a playoff berth. Irving would be the perfect guard to lead this athletic group. It all just makes too much sense.
One thing’s for certain with Miami, they’ll always be in the race. Even when they miss out on free agents (most recently, Gordon Hayward), never count out Pat Riley from getting a deal done.
Trade Likelihood: The same as finding a dollar bill in your washed jeans
Kyrie Teams Up With Kawhi Leonard
From a basketball perspective, the Spurs and Kyrie are a dream combo. Irving is as close to a modern-day Tony Parker as you could find. He’s a finesse guard playing below the rim — finishing with crafty layups as often as anybody. Irving’s also a gifted mid-range scorer, and his range extends far past Parker’s ever did.
Playing under Popovich and the Spurs’ ball movement system would only help Irving’s suspect shot selection. Pop’s scheme should ‘up’ his efficiency marks. Of course, Kawhi Leonard is already there and is a far more complete player than Irving is. Though Kawhi is a different kind of star, he’s one that can contribute in a number of ways while not occupying the ball. Irving gets the best of both worlds as he gets to shine as the No. 1 offensive option, as well as having the well-oiled Spurs defense to cover up for his defensive deficiencies.
The snag would be San Antonio’s lack of feasible assets. It’s unlikely the Cavs would want LaMarcus Aldrdige — as his skill-set overlaps with Love’s. Phoenix gets added again to grab his veteran services instead. The Suns would rather have two years of Aldridge when compared to two years of Bledsoe anyways.
Cleveland gets a nice coup with Bledsoe, Danny Green and Dejounte Murray. Bledsoe and Green also share an agent with LeBron (which is something to note).
Trade likelihood: The same as Popovich giving detailed, thought-provoking responses during a sideline interview
Eastern Conference Adversaries Execute Mega-Deal
Trader Danny Ainge worked some magic by signing Hayward earlier in the offseason. The exciting thing for Celtics fans is that he has plenty of assets to make an even bigger splash. Boston has the parts to make this deal work. Isaiah Thomas alone is the best return any team has gotten for their disgruntled, departing superstar in years. Add-in quality pieces like Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown and/or one of those juicy draft picks, and you start asking yourself, “why would either team say no to this?”
Boston gets their mega-star on the offensive end. Irving is under contract for one more year than Thomas. Cleveland gets 3-and-D guys to put along with LeBron, and Thomas is just as good of a pure scorer (both spotting up and off-the-dribble) as Kyrie is. The Celts could sweeten the pot by dangling that Brooklyn pick, but Thomas/Crowder/Brown is as good as it’ll get for Cleveland.
The Cavs would never trade with the Celtics, but it’s surely an interesting package for both sides.
Trade likelihood: The same as following up on your New Year’s Resolutions
Sources: ESPN Trade Machine, Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports