Hold it just a minute, Boston Celtics fans. Kyrie Irving isn’t on the roster quite yet.
Thanks to a delay in the completion of the trade involving the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard and the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, the door has apparently been left open for other teams to try and beat it.
One team is already knocking. The Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, have already offered reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and elite glue guy Khris Middleton to the Cavaliers for Irving, and might be willing to sweeten the pot with a first-rounder if it would land them a long-term partnership with Irving.
The Milwaukee Bucks lurk on the fringes of the Irving bidding with an offer centered around Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, and Khris Middleton, sources say. The Bucks have not yet put a first-round pick on the table, sources say, but the bet here is that they would to get the deal done — or if Irving showed any interest in staying in Milwaukee long-term.
On Tuesday night, the Cavaliers formally requested more trade compensation from the Celtics in light of concerns about the lasting effects of the hip injury Thomas sustained in the 2017 playoffs. The deal, as currently constructed, has Cleveland landing three-and-D wing Jae Crowder, rookie big man Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick in addition to Thomas.
Outside of the Bucks, apparently no team is primed to swoop in on Irving before the Celtics deal is consummated.
That’s probably why Cleveland has lowered its asking price for additional trade compensation. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Cavs sought a young player or first-round pick in addition to the previous package. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Cavs are “no longer seeking one of the Celtics’ top young players or significant draft picks” and “could be inclined to complete the deal for a late first-round pick or second-round considerations.”
The Celtics need this trade to go through. The team’s relationships with Thomas and Crowder could be irreparable, which is about the only leverage the Cavaliers hold over Boston at this point. That’s why it wouldn’t be surprising to learn they’re using the Bucks trade offer to bolster urgency on the Celtics’ part.