Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland, for whatever reason, and he’s apparently doing everything in his power to hasten the exit process. According to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd (subscribe here), the Cavs’ front office has been unable to get in touch with Irving since news of his trade demand broke.
Lloyd compares Irving’s silence to the cold shoulder that LeBron James gave the team before leaving in the summer of 2010. He writes:
[James] was unreachable during the summer of 2010, something Irving is now. The Cavs have unsuccessfully tried to contact Irving, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic, but he is not talking to anyone from the organization.
Meanwhile, the Cavs are reportedly not wanting for trade offers. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that 20 teams have inquired about Irving, and that a handful have already made solid offers. From ESPN:
So far, these are among the teams who’ve made offers to the Cavaliers for Irving, league sources tell ESPN: The San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Miami Heat.
Nobody knows what players might have been included in those proposals, but Woj writes that the Cavs are looking for the kind of package that Denver got when they traded Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks in 2011.
Pity new Cavs GM Koby Altman, who was hired a week ago and now has to pull off a trade that will more or less decide the Cavs’ future. His toughest task will be deciding exactly what the post-Kyrie future should look like. If he knows or believes that James is as good as gone after next season, does it make sense to move Irving for players that can line the Cavs up for one last championship push? Who would those players even be now that Paul George and Jimmy Butler are off the board? Or should the inevitable rebuilding process start now?
Either way, it’s going to be a nervy few weeks for the Cavaliers. The team that’s forced to trade a disgruntled star is rarely in a position of strength, but a 25-year-old All-Star with two years left on his deal provides a lot more options than a surly guy who has already peaked. The large list of suitors bodes well for the Cavs, but also leaves Altman with plenty of landmines to avoid. It’s easier to explain away a bad trade when the perception is that there were no better options available. If Altman blows this, he won’t have that excuse.