One of the most shocking news for basketball fans was hearing that Kyrie Irving wants out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is requesting a trade. Irving has just a couple options to consider. He can spend two years trying out a new team and decide to re-sign for a five-year maximum contract — or he can walk in free agency in 2019. You’ve probably heard the rumors, so now it’s time to put them to rest.
Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly one of the best point guards in the league. In his first season with Cleveland, he was given the title NBA Rookie of the Year. In 2014, he was named the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP). Irving even played for the United States national team and won gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Irving made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and is a 4-time All-Star.
At 25 years old, he still has two years left until he can opt out of his contract and dive into free agency. Some believe he has yet to play the best basketball of his life because he is so young, has accomplished so much already, and has a long road ahead of him.
Unfortunately, Irving has a little bit of a bad reputation that will follow him. He has a history of late nights and partying. The good news is he hasn’t missed a lot of practices or showed up with a hangover or bloodshot eyes. Some say he is moody as a teammate and doesn’t like deferring to Lebron James. James even tweeted an angry message about Irving when he heard the news, “Never let another ride your wave!” On the plus side, teams believe he’s smart, savvy, and most of all… a winner.
Irving said he wants to join a team where he can be the face of a franchise. Irving thinks he could reach this goal by joining the Heat, Knicks, or Timberwolves. If he joined the Spurs, it isn’t likely that he’d take Kawhi Leonard’s spot as the face of the Spurs. However, he has said the San Antonio Spurs are one of the primary teams he prefers to be traded to. Plus, imagine Leonard and Irving playing alongside one another on the court!
Although it sounds like an awesome deal, the Spurs don’t really have the wiggle room to create an offer worth taking. Patty Mills re-signed, so he can’t be traded. There’s no way the Spurs would ever let Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker go.
The Spurs aren’t the only team fighting for the chance to get Irving. The LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat have all made offers to Cavaliers, according to league sources. Around 20 teams made requests for Irving, but only a few have made legitimate proposals. Unfortunately, any team that deals for Kyrie Irving isn’t guaranteed to have him past 2019.
NBA sources say the Heat is willing to part with Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow for Irving. The Pacers offered Paul George, but the Cavs declined multiple times. The Suns are trying to work out a deal, but they are refusing to give up No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson.
Irving is owed nearly $19 million in 2017-18 and $20 million in 2018-19 before he can use a player option for the 2019 offseason. James Harden and Steph Curry had impressive contracts, so it won’t be surprising to see Irving take advantage of free agency a little early.
Apparently, Irving isn’t much of a commitment guy at the moment. Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer said since Irving only has two seasons left on his contract, he wants to keep his options open – but he also said that Irving desperately wants out. The Spurs like long-term commitments from their players, so this may not be what Coach Pop wants to hear.
Even if Kyrie doesn’t end up playing for the Spurs, it’s still an awesome accomplishment for the Spurs to even be considered. It just proves the success the franchise has had with Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard. They’ve helped San Antonio become a premier franchise destination. This is the third summer in a row that the Spurs have been in the running to land a big-time free agent. LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the Spurs, Kevin Durant met with the Spurs, and Chris Paul preferred the Spurs before being traded to the Houston Rockets.
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