The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving wants out, and if he gets his wish, he would immediately become the most attractive player on the trade market. He’s an All-Star point guard entering his prime, the kind of player that rarely hits the open market With Jameer Nelson in the twilight of his career, the Orlando Magic need a point guard for the future. If a Kyrie Irving trade is on the table, should the Orlando Magic be interested?
The dysfunction surrounding the Cleveland Cavaliers has been well documented. Dion Waiters’ fights, Andrew Bynum’s insubordination, and the complete lack of respect for coach Mike Brown are just the loco things we know about. Even after trading for Loul Deng, the team is in disarray. It’s little surprise that Kyrie wants out. The team has a serious lack of NBA talent and chemistry, and ownership may agree that a complete reset, starting with an Irving trade, may be the only thing that can right the ship.
The Orlando Magic are uniquely positioned to enter the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes. They have the right mix of high ceiling prospects and attractive draft picks to at least get Cleveland’s attention. What would a potential deal look like? The Magic could put together two very different, but equally attractive, trade packages:
It might be hard to believe that the Orlando Magic would even consider trading their hard-earned lottery pick this year, but the guarantee of a superstar might be too good for a star-starved franchise to pass up. For the last two years, Orlando has been stockpiling assets, and this is just the type of deal where they could finally be put to some use.
The draft pick offer would look something like Orlando’s 2014 1st rounder, a future first, Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson and filler, similar to what the New York Knicks gave up for Carmelo Anthony. It would clear out the bench, and turn the Magic into a team expected to compete immediately next year.
Is this a good deal for the Magic? Forget the 2014 draft pick for a minute, and after dreaming of Andrew Wiggins for 9 months, it’s hard to let that dream go. The Magic’s starting line-up would be Kyrie Irving, Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, Tobias Harris, and Nikola Vucevic. That’s a great looking group on paper, with a lot of real basketball concerns.
The offensive potential of that unit is mouthwatering, but that defense, oh that defense. They would be the front runner for the worst defensive team in the NBA. Irving is a disaster on that end of the floor, and no one else in the line-up rates above average. (I’m being really generous here). The only rim protection would come from the Oladipo at the shooting guard spot.
With Irving, Vucevic, and Harris all in line for big raises, this roster would run into the salary cap real quick. Free agent reinforcements wouldn’t be an an option. This trade would get fans in the seats but limit Orlando to a first-round playoff exit almost every year.
If Irving doesn’t fit with their current pieces, the Magic could always ship off some of their defensive liabilities. The Cavaliers’ biggest areas of long-term need are center and small forward, and the Magic happen to have a pair of those. By shipping Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and the New York/Denver first round draft pick this year, the Magic can hit a hard restart while maintaining cap flexibility.
A starting line-up of Irving, Oladipo, Afflalo, Free Agent PF, and Joel Embiid is more balanced, with solid young back-ups in Harkless, Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, and veteran Jameer Nelson. This deal has less long term upside for Cleveland, but it bumps up their competitive time-frame faster than the draft pick deal. Most importantly for Orlando it staggers their big salaries and bridges the gap between rebuilding and contending.
Will a Kyrie Irving trade actually happen? It’s more likely than you might think. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is desperate to avoid another LeBron situation. If they can’t sign him to an extension, a trade could definitely be on the table
But the Orlando Magic should be wary. Right now Irving is an offense only player with an attitude problem. With the right team around him he could be great, but superstars shouldn’t need those kind of qualifications. The Orlando Magic need a superstar, but should wait on someone besides Kyrie Irving.
What do you think? Does a Kyrie Irving trade make sense for the Orlando Magic? What would you give up? Let us know in the comments section below.