The turmoil in Cleveland involving Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and forward LeBron James has not stopped since the moment the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals in five games.
James, according to Chris Sheridan, will be leaving Cleveland after this upcoming season.
NBA source said today: "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair."
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) August 16, 2017
For fans still holding out hope that James will come back to Ohio in 2018, it just is not realistic. Unless the team wins a championship this season, there is no hope James will re-sign. Even Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd is writing off a return.
LeBron not immediately denying the report he's leaving Cleveland speaks volumes pic.twitter.com/XPAKgCS84y
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 17, 2017
With James assuredly on his way out, Cleveland can’t let James and Irving walk without getting something in return. As such, the Cavaliers should look to move Irving immediately, before it becomes a Paul George situation where they have to ship him off for worthless pieces.
Luckily, it is a little easier for the organization to move Irving as he would commit to signing an extension with the San Antonio Spurs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Below is a plausible trade scenario that would send Irving to San Antonio.
Cleveland receives: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, 2018 first round pick
San Antonio receives: Kyrie Irving
First and foremost, this trade would be accepted by the NBA’s rules thanks to ESPN’s NBA trade machine.
Moreover, the trade isn’t a win-win scenario since Cleveland is already in a losing situation. The team is bound to lose both of their superstars after the 2017-18 season. However, this deal would give the opportunity for Dan Gilbert to get something in return for Irving to help build for the future.
Currently, the Spurs are not the best option for Cleveland. They don’t have as many available assets as the Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics, but it is the only place Irving would sign an extension.
Why the Kyrie Irving deal makes sense
This could be the only trade, except with the Celtics, that would send a sure-fire all-star, LaMarcus Aldridge, to Cleveland in return for Irving.
As a result, the Cavaliers would have a star to pair with James for 2017 and would remain atop the Eastern Conference. For their future, they will have the young and talented Dejounte Murray, a 20-year-old 6-foot-5 guard from Washington, and a first round selection in the 2018 NBA draft.
In all honesty, it isn’t a great move for the Cavaliers. They will be in a tough situation in the future, pending LeBron’s departure. Regardless, this is a deal that makes sense and makes them better off for a post-James era.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are missing a superstar to combine with forward Kawhi Leonard. Without one, they will never have any realistic shot of beating the Warriors and will probably lose noticeable ground on the up and coming Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets, who have two superstars each.
If the aforementioned trade went through, the Spurs would have their second superstar in Kyrie Irving. Most importantly, they would have acquired him without giving up any valuable assets.
For example, Aldridge is a great player, but is not a great fit in San Antonio. The tension between him and the organization would likely make the Spurs jump at any reasonable opportunity to trade him away.
In this scenario, San Antonio could get rid of Aldridge while bringing in a better superstar in Irving. They would have to part ways with a first round pick, but losing a first round pick from where the Spurs are selecting will not hinder any future success.
As expected, San Antonio would come away as the major winner in this deal. The team getting the superstar usually is, just look at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, they will be on the losing end in almost any deal. It is time for them to get the best losing deal.
Ryan is currently a student at the University of North Carolina. He grew up in the Bay Area and has had Raiders season tickets his entire life fostering his love for the NFL. He has founded his own sports website, thejrreport.com and works at the Sports Desk for the Daily Tar Heel. You can follow Ryan on twitter @rytime98 if you want to discuss anything sports.