Report: Cavaliers prioritizing youth in Kyrie Irving trade
In the wake of Kyrie Irving’s trade request, the Cavaliers have three fundamental options:
- Trade Irving for immediate help to continue a championship chase around LeBron James
- Trade Irving for younger players and/or draft picks to kick start a rebuild in case LeBron leaves next summer
- Don’t trade Irving
It seems Cleveland is taking the second route.
Barring a misevaluation by another team, Cleveland can’t trade Irving for better players now and significant long-term assets. The Cavaliers could try to straddle both paths, but the more they prioritize the future, the less they’ll get for the present (and vice versa).
I’m a little surprised the Cavs aren’t posturing about not trading Irving to drive up his value – especially after the leak – and I’m surprised they’re not pushing in for next year. A championship lasts forever, and they’re still contending.
But it seems they’ve chosen their course. The big danger: It reduces their ability to win this year and pushes LeBron further out the door.
Reading that description of Cleveland’s target, does anyone fit better than Andrew Wiggins – whom, in a strange twist, the Cavaliers drafted then traded for Kevin Love? The 22-year-old is seen by many as a rising star, and his value is in Irving’s general range. Plus, not only did Irving list the Timberwolves among his preferred teams, Jimmy Butler (a friend) and Karl-Anthony Towns are urging Minnesota management to deal for Irving.
The Wiggins we’ve seen so far – an underwhelming defender and 3-point shooter – would fit poorly with LeBron. Wiggins is young enough to develop and adjust, but LeBron’s free agency is only a year away. It’s a dangerous time to take a step back.
But if the Cavs are going to trade Irving for a young player, that’s almost certainly what they must do.