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Kyrie Irving could become one of youngest stars ever to change teams

Kyrie Irving is seeking to be the face of a franchise, and he knows he won't get that next season with the Cavaliers.

Kyrie Irving knows, as well as anyone, the value of being an All-Star – how the status validates on-court performance, sells shoes and can be flipped for even more exposure. Irving is comfortable in that environment, promoting his brand at four All-Star weekends already and winning All-Star game MVP in 2014 in New Orleans.

He was back in New Orleans for this year’s All-Star game when he was asked to name his all-time All-Star team.

Joe Vardon of

As Irving announced his team -- he was responding to a question -- he said “I’d put MJ at the 1, Kobe at the 2, Ray Allen at the 3, gotta space it out, got to have a spot up 4, so I’m probably going to go with KG, he’s going to rim-run, do the dirty work. I’d put Shaq at the 5.”

What about LeBron?

Irving, via Vardon:

“Yeah, yeah, yeah well, I mean, he (James) understands,” Irving told, as he walked off the podium.

Foreshadowing? Perhaps.

Irving has requested a trade from the Cavaliers, reportedly to escape LeBron’s shadow.

But take a step back from Irving’s answer, and his mere presence in New Orleans as an All-Star – again, already – foretold immense demand in the trade market.

Irving is just 25 and a four-time All-Star. Only two players have reached so many All-Star games and changed teams while as young as Irving is now: Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady.

Here’s every All-Star to switch teams before turning 26 and their age when the transaction occurred, Irving included for reference as if he were dealt today:

PlayerAll-Star berthsYearFromToAge
Jrue Holiday12013PHINOP23 years, 1 month, 0 days
Terry Dischinger21964BALDET23 years, 6 months, 28 days
Jason Kidd11996DALPHO23 years, 9 months, 3 days
Ray Felix11954BLBNYK23 years, 9 months, 7 days
Jamaal Wilkes11977GSWLAL24 years, 2 months, 9 days
Shaquille O’Neal41996ORLLAL24 years, 4 months, 12 days
Stephon Marbury12001NJNPHO24 years, 4 months, 28 days
Don Sunderlage11954MLHMNL24 years, 8 months, 29 days
Mel Hutchins11953MLHFTW24 years, 9 months, 1 day
Andrew Bynum12012LALPHI24 years, 9 months, 14 days
Tracy McGrady42004ORLHOU25 years, 1 month, 5 days
Chris Webber11998WASSAC25 years, 2 months, 13 days
Bob McAdoo31976BUFNYK25 years, 2 months, 14 days
Billy Knight11977INDBUF25 years, 2 months, 23 days
Len Chappell11966NYKCHI25 years, 3 months, 0 days
Len Chappell11966CHICIN25 years, 9 months, 25 days
Kenny Anderson11996NJNCHA25 years, 3 months, 10 days
Kenny Anderson11996CHAPOR25 years, 9 months, 14 days
Butch Beard11972CLESEA25 years, 3 months, 19 days
Frank Selvy11958STLMNL25 years, 3 months, 7 days
Kyrie Irving42017CLE?25 years, 4 months, 5 days
Otis Birdsong31981KCKNJN25 years, 5 months, 30 days
LeBron James62010CLEMIA25 years, 6 months, 10 days
John Johnson11973CLEPOR25 years, 6 months, 6 days
Frank Selvy11958MNLSTL25 years, 7 months, 22 days
Sean Elliott11993SASDET25 years, 7 months, 29 days
Dennis Johnson21980SEAPHO25 years, 8 months, 17 days
Alonzo Mourning21995CHAMIA25 years, 8 months, 26 days
Andrew Bynum12013PHICLE25 years, 8 months, 22 days
Baron Davis22005NOHGSW25 years, 10 months, 11 days
Bernard King11982GSWNYK25 years, 10 months, 18 days
Vin Baker31997MILSEA25 years, 10 months, 2 days
Kiki VanDeWeghe21984DENPOR25 years, 10 months, 6 days
Frank Selvy11958STLNYK25 years, 11 months, 13 days
Kevin Love32014MINCLE25 years, 11 months, 16 days
Mike Mitchell11981CLESAS25 years, 11 months, 22 days

Irving didn’t sneak into only one All-Star game like Jrue Holiday and Andrew Bynum. Irving is a near-perennial selection.

And unlike several players on the above list, he’s also doing it in era where there are more NBA teams than All-Star spots. In the 60s, when the league was smaller, NBA teams averaged more than two All-Stars each.

Irving is under contract for two more years before he can opt out, and his salaries – and $18,868,626 and $20,099,189 – became bargains when the new national TV contracts caused the salary cap to skyrocket.

The timing of Irving’s trade request becoming public has certainly contributed to the frenzy, as other NBA storylines have quieted for the summer. LeBron’s enormous profile also draws attention to anything involving him and his team.

But players like Irving – young established stars – rarely become available. No matter when this story leaked or whom Irving was playing with, this is a special opportunity for whichever team acquires him.