By Matthew Cunha
The news of Kyrie Irving demanding a trade from the Cavs broke a couple weeks ago. With the firing of Cavs GM David Griffin, the Celtics main competitor in the East seems to be falling apart. Even if the Cavs don’t pull the trigger on Kyrie, it is reasonable to question the effort Kyrie will give. If Kyrie does get traded, history has shown that teams almost never get equal value back in trades. Any kind of equal value would likely still make the Cavs worse. Four quarters doesn’t equal a dollar in most deals in the NBA.
If Kyrie gets traded, and the Cavs get a decent haul back the most likely option would be Suns and built around PG Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe is an elite point guard, but he doesn’t fix the Cavs problem. Last year the Cavaliers were one of the most three point happy teams in the league and finished second last season in team 3 point percentage. Taking out Kyrie and replacing him with a less than stellar 3 point shooter in Bledsoe would be an immediate drop off in an obvious area of the organization’s focus. Removing a spot up three point shooter will mess up the spacing, which is what the best of the player (Lebron) in the planet thrives in. None of this takes into effect Bledsoe’s injury concerns, as the 27 year-old Bledsoe has taken multiple blows to the knees.
Bledsoe is a better finisher in the paint, but that’ll force Kevin Love to the perimeter. The good rebounding version of Kevin Love is of higher value when he is in the post. The addition of Gordon Hayward to the Celtics already significantly lowered the gap between Cleveland and Boston. Removing a proven can-play-with-LeBron point guard from the equation can only significantly reduce the gap even more. Chemistry can take some time, look no further than what happened to the Big three in Miami its first year when they lost to much less talented Dallas Mavericks.
Another note, please stop any idea of Kyrie getting traded to the Celtics. It is immature. It will never happen. It is not even worth considering in this argument.
The Cavs are not likely to trade Kyrie. They will do anything they can to convince him that he made a mistake in even asking. Trading Kyrie essentially is giving up on any chance Cleveland has of knocking off the Warriors and would all but guarantee a LeBron departure at the end of the season. If Irving stays in Cleveland, you have to question his level of commitment. He can’t stand playing with the King and not even the King himself is going to change his mind. If he wants to depart a championship contender, he is obviously miserable in his current situation. A Kyrie & LeBron connection in the 2017-18 season is destined to fail.
I am not proclaiming the Celtics the 2018 Eastern Conference Champions. I am proclaiming though that the 2018 Eastern conference finals will be competitive. A tough 7 game series loss is my way too early prediction for the Celtics with all the turmoil in Cleveland. At the end of the 2016 conference finals, even this seemed to be 5 years away. The Cavs have two and half months to start to figure this situation out and the green teamers will be lurking in the background waiting for their chance.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.