So the Cleveland Cavaliers want a king’s ransom for Kyrie Irving or so says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and that’s certainly where they should open the bidding, but that may not be the best trade the Cavs can or should make for their All-Star point guard. Long term, it may not even be in the team’s best interests.
The Cavaliers want a package that resembles the 2011 Nuggets-Knicks deal for Carmelo Anthony — young players, win-now veterans and draft picks.
As long as LeBron James is on the team, the Cavs will be the favorites to come out of the East. The only issues with that are James can be a free agent next summer and isn’t promising anything, plus even with Irving or a “replacement” veteran, no one gives the Cavs a chance against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Dan Gilbert or whomever is making decisions in Cleveland this summer needs to start thinking outside the box they put themselves in or Gilbert will be cutting a check for $75 million to the NBA to cover his luxury tax bill and still end up second best with some people looking at the Cavs as really being the league’s fourth best team.
The right deal probably isn’t something that helps the Cavs tread water and a little something extra for the future. Cleveland needs to be bolder than that.
The Philadelphia 76ers are planning a return trip to the postseason after five years of being terrible and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has added enough veteran pieces to his very young team to give them hope. Adding Irving would put them firmly in the playoff picture and greatly accelerate “the process.”
This is the trade the Cavs should make:
Cavaliers trade Kyrie Irving ($18.9 million) and Channing Frye ($7.4 million)
76ers trade Markelle Fultz ($7 million), Jahil Okafor ($5 million), and the draft rights to the 25th pick Anzerjs Pasecniks.
The 76ers have $15.1 million in practical cap space to absorb the extra salary according to Spotrac and the trade will save the Cavaliers $55 million in luxury tax next season.
(Note: Fultz can’t be traded until August 7)
For the Cavs, it’s a gamble to not get a veteran player back, but it’s as good a bet as a GM could make with Derrick Rose available in case it takes Fultz a while to figure out the NBA game.
Trading a young successful former number one overall pick who wants out for this year’s high potential number one overall pick is a great long term move. And Gilbert has already spent a fortune betting on short term moves. It’s time he got some LeBron insurance to protect his franchise just in case.
In Philadelphia, the playoff drought will be over and Irving gets his wish, a team to lead. The 76ers will not just be a team to watch because of all that young talent, they’ll be a team that’s expected to be competitive with playoff teams now and any “process” looks a lot sweeter while you’re winning.