By Zach Haines
Late last week, Kyrie Irving shocked the basketball world by requesting a trade from the only professional team he’s ever known, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After much speculation as to why Irving requested this trade, it is all beginning to settle on the fact that the relationship between he and LeBron James has been souring over the past several weeks. Irving requested four landing spots to the Cavaliers front office, those four being the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, and Miami Heat. Of those four, two would be a good fit and two would be not-so-good. Additionally, teams like the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns are beginning to reach out to the Cavs to try and make a deal for the highly-explosive point guard out of Duke.
The worst-case scenarios for Irving would be if he went to either the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks. The Knicks are currently in a state of free fall, and if they were to acquire Irving, they’d have to give up any and all assets that make them competitive. This would leave Irving as the only good player on a team of scrubs, a situation he is all too familiar with.
The Heat wouldn’t really be a great fit for Irving either. The Heat are by no means a bad basketball team, but their new culture and core is established there with Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, and Hassan Whiteside. With that trio, you see a primary ball-handler, primary scorer, and primary rebounder/defender. Adding Irving to this mix would only disturb the chemistry, and in all likelihood the Heat would miss the playoffs.
The best-case scenarios are the other two teams Irving brought up to Cavalier management, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs. So long as Gregg Popovich is coaching, the Spurs have a shot at winning titles. Additionally, the Spurs are the only team in the league that can adapt with proficiency, whether it be due to changing styles of play or new personnel. Irving would be an electrifying addition to this roster, and the duo of he and Kawhi Leonard would be a lethal one. Where Kyrie should end up for the absolute benefit of his career; however, is Minnesota.
Minnesota is the place to be in the NBA this offseason. They have, at a glance, Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, and Jimmy Butler. Irving would become the scoring ball-handler this team needs to truly threaten the Warriors and Rockets in the West, because then every aspect of offense and defense would be addressed.
It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds in the coming weeks, but I feel as though a trade is coming. The Cavaliers have no wiggle room for chemistry problems, so they might as well just bite the bullet and appease their All-Star point guard who has serviced them very well over the past seven seasons.