Random dribbles on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who continue to look for the right trade:
1. Despite the national narrative, the Cavaliers feel as if they are in complete control of the Kyrie Irving situation. If they don’t find a trade they love, then yes, they will keep Irving and bring him to training camp.
2. Irving is under contract for two more years (with a player option in year three). What happens with that option will largely be determined by how well Irving plays over the next two seasons. So if Irving returns to Cleveland, it will be in his best interest to deny he ever wanted traded, that he has no beef with LeBron James, blah, blah, blah. And to play hard and continue to win.
3. Hey, stranger things have happened. Really.
4. That said, the Cavs have every intention to move Irving, and they hope to do it soon. But they won’t do it for a bunch of nameless, faceless pieces and parts. That would be silly. If anything, the Cavs plan to use Irving to upgrade the roster. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll just go back to looking for trades centered on other players.
5. Remember, Kyrie puts people in the stands and sells jerseys in the team store. That’s not something anyone in Phoenix does. It’s not something anyone in Minnesota really does either — at least, not to the degree of a dynamic player such as Irving.
6. So if the Suns think Josh Jackson or whoever is going to put fannies in the seats and make the organization money in the same manner as an Irving, the Cavs have a message for them, and it goes a little something like this: Good luck with that.
7. As for the reports that Irving won’t commit to a team beyond his current contract — well, that’s not exactly a negative. No player in his right mind would commit beyond two years when he doesn’t even know where he’s going, or where the franchise is headed when he gets there. As one West Coast source said, “Trust me, Kevin Durant isn’t committed (to Golden State) beyond 2019, either. And they’re winning.”
8. Plus, most teams and people around the league aren’t the least bit bothered by that bit of Irving news. In fact, no teams have been deterred from calling the Cavs to ask about Irving for any reason.
9. Again, it’s important to look at this not just from a basketball standpoint, but from a business as well. From a business angle, even just two years of the type of money Irving will bring is better than zero years.
10. That is why having Cavs owner Dan Gilbert involved in trade talks isn’t necessarily a detriment. He can sell the idea of Kyrie the Money Maker to other owners, some of whom aren’t making much, if anything.
11. As reported earlier on Amico Hoops, the Cavs are not concerning themselves with Irving’s supposed “wish list” of teams. They will trade him wherever they can get the best deal. They have had talks with every team on his reported list, but are not close to a deal with any of them, and don’t really expect to be any time soon.
12. Irving’s reported list: Minnesota, New York, San Antonio and Miami.
13. The Cavs have already shot down the Heat, and the Knicks and Spurs aren’t about to surrender anything the Cavs would want in return. So trades with any of those three seem like the longest of long shots.
14. Meanwhile, the Cavs continue to talk with and keep a close eye on the Timberwolves. But while Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are pushing for an Irving trade, Wolves owner Glen Taylor appears to want to hang on to Andrew Wiggins. The Cavs want Wiggins in any deal involving Irving.
15. Of course, Taylor repeatedly told reporters that he would never trade Kevin Love for Wiggins, and we all saw how that played out back in 2014.
16. Interestingly, Butler and Towns are said to be OK with moving Wiggins for Irving. So it has to make you wonder how Wiggins will respond if a trade doesn’t happen.
17. Regardless, teams always say they aren’t trading people … until they do. Then everyone is so excited about the trade that the denials are long forgotten. Moral of the story? Don’t believe it. Everyone is trying very hard to figure out how to get Irving right now. Everyone.
18. This isn’t to say all is well in Believeland. Frankly, it’s not. The Cavs have a disgruntled star on their hands. They want to move him. But they won’t move him for nothing. And if they don’t move him, guess what they will have going into the season? Yep. A disgruntled star. But a disgruntled star still beats a bunch of nobodies, and that is something the Cavs clearly understand.