His goal is to be more independent. He’s learned enough from the King and now, he’s prepared to be the undisputed face of a franchise.
However, there’s just one thing that doesn’t quite add up. Three of the four teams he presented to the Cavs as his desired destinations were Minnesota, San Antonio, and New York. Those are three teams with an alpha. Irving would be in the same boat he’s in right now.
The Timberwolves have Jimmy Butler, a guy that averages 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game and he’s an elite defender. He’s the veteran voice and star of that team right now. Irving’s offensive game is impressive, averaging 25.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game, but defensively, it’s a known fact that he’s a liability. Not to mention, the Timberwolves have two extremely talented budding stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns. And those are two players you could argue have more of an upside than Irving.
Wiggins averages 23.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, is a very solid defender and happens to only be 22 years old. Same thing goes for KAT. 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game, as well as being an active defender.
San Antonio is a little more obvious. Irving isn’t on the same level as one named Kawhi Leonard, a proven superstar in the NBA on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Irving would be in the exact same position he’s in now with Cleveland, with a much smaller chance of coming out of a much tougher Western Conference.
New York is intriguing. For a trade to work out bringing Irving to the Knicks, Carmello Anthony would more than likely have to be included, along with a few other teams. That would presumably leave Kristaps Porzingis as his running mate.
The Knicks have plans to build around Porzingis, so where does that leave Irving? Yeah, he does average seven more points than Porzingis, but he also has three-and-a-half years on him. Once again, looking at upside, Porzingis may have a brighter future.
Even if that isn’t true, this could turn into another Russell Westbrook – Kevin Durant situation, fighting for power. Porzingis is no slouch as the NBA knows after just his second season.
For this to happen, there will have to be multiple teams involved and with the current state of the Cavaliers, Irving may have to deal with playing in Cleveland again next season.
This offseason has been full of surprises. Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Paul George to OKC, Chris Paul to Houston, Lonzo Ball’s unbelievable numbers after the NBA’s Summer League and more. The timing and terms of Irving’s request are just off and there’s a legitimate chance nothing will happen.
However, here’s an interesting scenario that floated across the internet this week.