It’s no secret now: Kyrie Irving no longer wishes to be a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers—a sentiment that’s apparently shared by teammate LeBron James.
When Irving asked the Cavs front office to trade him back in July, he also included a list of four or five teams, depending on whom you ask, to which he’d like to be moved. But there’s a catch in terms of his value: Irving has two more years left on his contract and a third that’s a player option. His ability to ditch his next team has made teams hesitant to divulge valuable long-term assets to acquire him. However, a guarantee that he’d sign a contract extension with his new team to remain a part of their core for years to come would change things.
And the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, have something amounting to that kind of guarantee.
Woj reported on Tuesday:
The Spurs have interest in Irving, league sources say, and Irving’s willingness to commit to an extension with the Spurs makes for legitimate win-now deal possibilities for Cleveland.
But, as the veteran reporter noted, everything still hinges on LeBron James. If he’s staying beyond the 2017-18 season, the Spurs have lots of useful pieces that could help the franchise’s quest for another championship—like LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, and Tony Parker. However, if LeBron is really leaving via free agency in 2018, that’d spoil things. In that case, Cleveland would likely prefer long-term assets like draft picks and young talent. Thanks to their perennial contender status, Spurs first-round picks are rather unappealing—the team hasn’t drafted in better position than 24th overall since taking Tim Duncan at No. 1 in 1997.
The Spurs are one of six teams to have reportedly extended a trade offer to the Cavs that would net Irving, joined by the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 25-year-old averaged a career-high 25.2 points per game last season.