Ranking 5 ESPN Kyrie Irving trade scenarios from the NBA trade machine

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 18: Andrew Wiggins
HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 18: Andrew Wiggins /

Writers at ESPN fired up the NBA trade machine and came up with these five Kyrie Irving trade scenarios. Here they are, ranked from worst to best.

ESPN is out with five Kyrie Irving trade scenarios straight from the four-letter network’s famous trade machine.

The column appeared on the Insider subscription site, so I’ll do my best to break down the scenarios.

A couple notes, though. Draft picks are not included in these trades.These rankings will go from the least to most preferred trades.

5. Irving’s destination: Detroit Pistons

Clippers get: Andre Drummond, Stanley Johnson and a future Pistons first-round pick

Pistons get: Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson

Cavaliers get: DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Jackson

This is the worst scenario concocted by the authors at ESPN.com. The Cavaliers do upgrade the center position, and writer Jeremias Engelmann views this as an upgrade because of Jordan’s ability to protect the rim.

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Really, though, how does this help the Cavs beat the Warriors? The Cavs don’t need to get bigger at center. Thompson is fine, adding Jordan won’t get Cleveland over the hump, while Reggie Jackson is a very good player, he’d be a downgrade from Irving.

4. Irving’s destination: Suns, with help from the Knicks

Destination: Phoenix Suns (with help from the Knicks)

Suns get: Kyrie Irving, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez

Knicks get: Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert

Cavaliers get: Carmelo Anthony, Eric Bledsoe and Jared Dudley

This scenario has the Cavs losing two superstars and getting one back. No thanks.

Look at this trade, look at what the Cavs will get and then ask yourself, does this make the Cavs better than Golden State?

Sure Carmelo can score little, but he and Irving aren’t on the same superstar level at this point in their careers. Bledsoe would be a solid point guard who would upgrade the point-guard spot defensively, and Dudley offers perimeter defensive help, but there’s no way a deal with the Knicks should go through unless Kristaps Porzingis is involved.

This is an easy pass for GM Koby Altman.

 3. Irving’s destination: Phoenix Suns

Suns get: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson

Cavaliers get: Eric Bledsoe, TJ Warren, Jared Dudley, Miami’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick and first-round swap rights with Phoenix in 2018 (protected for picks Nos. 1-6; converts to second-rounders in 2018 and 2019 if not conveyed).

Eric Bledsoe is really the “name” in this package, and he’s obviously a huge downgrade from Kyrie Irving. With that said, Bledsoe would up grade the point-guard position from a defensive standpoint.

This package lacks sizzle because casual Cavs fans are likely to be unfamiliar with Warren and Dudley.

However,  Warren is an emerging player, who at 6-8, plays small forward. He’s also a good defender.

Dudley is a 10-year veteran, and he recently underwent surgery on his toe. When healthy, he’s a good perimeter defender.

This deal makes sense in that it fits with helping the Cavs win now, while supplying some assets to the future.

But we’re talking about trading Kyrie Irving, here. The Suns need to make Josh Jackson a part of any deal.

2. Irving’s destination: Utah Jazz

Jazz get: Kyrie Irving and Edy Tavares

Cavaliers get: Dante Exum, Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell

Note: Ingles can’t be traded until mid-January.

Dante Exum is not living up up this draft status as the fifth player taken in the 2014 NBA Draft. He also possesses injury concerns, having missed his entire sophomore campaign with an ACL tear. Additionally, another knock on Exum is his 3-point shooting. He shot just .295 from beyond arc last season. Irving is a very good 3-point shooter. The point is that Exum doesn’t help catch the Warriors.

Donovan Mitchell is an interesting name to watch just because he tore up the NBA summer league. The 6-3 guard was the 13th overall pick in this summer’s draft. While may he be intriguing, his acquisition doesn’t make the Cavs better now.

1. Irving’s destination: Timerwolves

Minnesota gets: Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith

Cleveland Cavaliers get: Jeff Teague and Andrew Wiggins

Note: Teague can be traded on Dec. 15.

Andrew Wiggins comes “home” in this trade, and there’s a lot to like about this potential deal.

Wiggins is still an ascending player who would be valuable against the Warriors right now. With that said, there are still questions about his defense and his 3-point shooting ability, although the former No.1 overall pick is coming off his best season beyond the arc (35.6 percent).

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Teague is a really good point guard, and while he’s not Irving, the Cavs as whole might match up better with Golden State with wings and guards such as LeBron James, Wiggins, Teague and Derrick Rose.