By now I’m sure you’ve seen a myriad of ESPN Trade Machine proposals involving point guard Kyrie Irving. After requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the potential landing spots for the All-Star have been well documented to say the least.
So what about Charlotte, a city that sits roughly 140 miles from Irving’s alma mater in Duke University? If you’re Hornets general manager Rich Cho, does it make sense to put a package together for Irving? It seems like basic due diligence on Cho’s part to at least send newly-appointed Cavs GM Koby Altman a text to inquire about Irving’s potential asking price.
Rick Bonnell, beat reporter for the Charlotte Observer, shared his thoughts on the matter in a recent column.
“The Hornets should certainly call the Cleveland Cavaliers, now that it’s out that Irving, the former Duke point guard, has requested a trade.”
Bonnell then goes on to explain the potential sticking point of a Cavs/Hornets deal.
“The problem is whether the Hornets have the assets the Cavs would accept for Irving, a four-time All-Star. Obviously, Walker would have to be in the offer. After that, if I were the Cavaliers, I’d ask for Cody Zeller and rookie Malik Monk, plus multiple first-round picks, and expect the Hornets to take back a bad contract.”
The “bad contract” he’s referring to would likely be that of either shooting guard Iman Shumpert or power forward Channing Frye, owed roughly $10M and $7M respectively for the forthcoming season. It’s unlikely the Hornets would be willing to engage in such a risky, franchise-altering move, especially given the fact that Charlotte is not on Irving’s wish list of destinations. Would Cho be willing to part with “multiple” draft picks if the PG could bolt in free agency in the summer of 2019?
Jerry Stephens of Fansided’s Swarm and Sting agrees with this notion. “For the record, I don’t think making a move for Irving is the best thing Charlotte could do this offseason. They already have an all-star point guard who comes at a cheaper cost. Even if Kyrie is better than Kemba, it’s just marginally and I highly doubt that the Cavs’ star would re-sign with the Hornets as he probably wants to play in a bigger market once his contract is up.”
Conversely, I’d suspect Altman is demanding an even greater haul for the malcontent point guard. Sure, a deal similar to the one proposed above gives Cleveland some prized cap relief, an Irving replacement to help immediately and a promising young talent in Malik Monk. But as electric as Monk was at Kentucky, he isn’t the prospect that Suns draftee Josh Jackson is, nor does he possess the skillset of old friend Andrew Wiggins – two guys rumored to be on the Cavs radar.
It’s very improbable Altman accepts a deal deficient of any young talent, which is why the below concoction from The Ringer’s Bill Simmons is so unlikely. (Irving and Shumpert to Charlotte, Walker and Nic Batum to Cleveland)
Kyrie Fake Trade of the Day. Charlotte throws in an unprotected first. pic.twitter.com/Hv19eYWjYT
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 26, 2017
While it’s fun to speculate, I ultimately wouldn’t expect much traction out of Charlotte in the Kyrie sweepstakes – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Hornets fans.
Christopher Kreider | @krydr1