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Kyrie Irving: Three Potential Landing Spots

Kyrie Irving
(Bart Young/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving: Three Potential Landing Spots

According to Shams Charania, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets have reached an impasse in conversations about Irving’s future in Brooklyn. Irving can either decline his player option and find his way to the open market, or he can be traded to a better suitor. It is more likely we see an opt-in-and-trade. This would allow the Nets to get something in return, while Irving can be moved to a team over the cap.

Before we get into it, the Los Angeles Lakers will not be on this list. The Lakers would have to trade LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or Russell Westbrook for Irving’s salary to fit in LA. That being said, the Lakers will not move James or Davis, while the Nets will not take Westbrook. Now that we have addressed the elephant in the room. Here are three potential landing spots for Kyrie Irving.

The Los Angeles Clippers Create a Big Three

The Los Angeles Clippers have not been able to reach the finals despite having some loaded teams. If management feels it is time to go all in and make a push for the title, Irving may be a worthy addition. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are currently the two superstars on the roster, but the addition of Irving would be a massive upgrade over Reggie Jackson.

From a salary cap perspective, the Clippers can match Irving’s salary of about 36 million. It will not be difficult either. The Clippers have five players that make between 10 and 17 million — Jackson, Luke Kennard, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris Sr, and Norman Powell. Jackson will most likely be the first player added to the trade package. With Irving on the roster, he becomes expendable, and the Nets would be able to fit him into their plans. From there, two of the remaining four players and trade capital could move Irving to the Clippers.

Irving is finally a Knick

There have been rumors about Irving playing for the New York Knicks for years, but now may be the time to make it happen. If the Knicks can add Irving, they will finally have the first elite player in Madison Square Garden since Carmelo Anthony. Irving would be the lead man in New York, and the Knicks could surround him with decent players. Regardless of who gets traded, the Knicks could create a lineup of intriguing young players and wily veterans. It would be tough to get past the Eastern Conference juggernauts like the Celtics, Heat, 76ers, and Bucks, but it may be worth a shot.

The Knicks would be in an interesting position if they were making an Irving trade. Realistically, the Knicks would have to give up around three role players in addition to draft capital. The largest cap fillers for the Knicks would be Julius Randle and Evan Fournier. Randle’s contract seems destined to be terrible. So, it is unlikely the Nets would want to take that off the Knicks’ hands. Fournier is making around 18 million, but he only has two years left on his deal. It still seems unlikely the Nets would want him. The most logical trade pieces are Derrick Rose and Alec Burks. These two would eat a large portion of Irving’s cap hit, but the Knicks would have to add one more player.

The third player in the package is where things become interesting. The Knicks will probably try to send another veteran like Nerlens Noel, Kemba Walker, or Taj Gibson. On the other hand, the Nets may look to land a young player with potential like Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickly, or Cam Reddish. This last piece will be a crucial part of the trade and may be a difference factor down the road.

The Miami Heat get a playmaker

It is no secret that the Miami Heat are looking to add a big name that could get them over the hump. Kyrie Irving could be that guy. His addition to a lineup with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo would create an interesting dynamic that teams would struggle to defend. The only issue here is Irving’s cultural fit in Miami. The Heat are a team that relies on establishing a strong culture. It is unclear if the Heat would be willing to risk that to add Irving. If they did, it would be interesting to see how that would play out.

In terms of trade discussions, the Heat could go in a couple of directions. If the Heat were willing to trade Tyler Herro, they would likely become the front-runner. Herro could be one of the few young players with upside that the Nets could get in return for Irving. However, they would still need to match Irving’s salary. Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson would be the two most likely candidates for this. Lowry makes around 28 million, while Robinson gets about 17 million. The Heat would not have to move both of these players, and the Nets probably would not want both of their contracts on the books. With that being said, Lowry and Robinson can each be cap fillers if the Nets and Heat discuss this deal.


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