Trade Proposal: Kyrie Irving to Raptors, while Cavs get….

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07: Kyrie Irving
TORONTO, ON - MAY 07: Kyrie Irving /

Kyrie Irving has put himself in play by asking for a trade from the Cavaliers. Just for fun, let’s see if there’s a trade that makes sense which bring him to the Raptors.

When I write a Trade Proposal, I’m usually planning to dump a redundant member of the Toronto RaptorsHowever, the strange NBA summer has gotten more so with the news that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving has requested a trade.

Suddenly the giant roadblock to the Raptors’ Eastern Conference championship aspirations looks more like a speed bump. The Cavs are without a General Manager, and there’s increased chatter about LeBron James moving west next summer. The King abdicating his Ohio throne would seem more likely if Kyrie is gone.

I can’t resist dipping my oar in the water of the Irving trade-stakes, so here goes.

TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 7: Kyrie Irving
TORONTO, CANADA – MAY 7: Kyrie Irving /

An unhappy Irving is of no use to our team, and he appears to want to be The Man wherever he goes. He’s a ball-dominant point guard already, and clearly he sees himself more as Russell Westbrook than Mike Conley. [20-second timeout: Westbrook was a deserving MVP, but he also managed to “lead” the league in missed shots for the third time in five years. Conley is a quiet assassin for the Memphis Grizzlies.] 

If we’re gaining Irving, Kyle Lowry has to be moved. There can’t be two #1 point guards.

(more parentheses: I’m aware Lowry can’t be traded until mid-January because of CBA restrictions. We’re just spitballing here, guys. The ESPN Trade Machine can’t bless my deal, so I’m taking a stab at the money aspects.)

Kyle is slated to earn almost $29 million in 2017-18 as his new deal kicks in. Irving’s ($18.8 M) and Shumpert’s ($10.3 M) combined salaries make this transaction painless for both teams’ salary caps.


For such a forced deal, I think this one could be a surprising success. At a minimum, it wouldn’t hurt either team. Cleveland gets a feisty and hard-working leader who won’t provide the distraction Kyrie is sure to until he’s moved. Toronto acquires a high-maintenance point man, but one who should thrive on a veteran team. Irving’s talent is unquestioned.

Loyal readers know I’m not a Shumpert fan. I don’t like his forced shots, which seem to occur after many seconds of head-down dribbling. He’s always struck me as borderline uncoachable. On the other hand, he’s a six-year NBA veteran and a respectable defender. The Raptors are certainly short of experienced swingmen who can make 3-balls at a passable rate, and Shumpert checks that box. If nothing else, he can be spotlighted and moved on.


This deal will never happen, the main one being timing (i.e., Kyle’s untradeability). I doubt Irving will be a Cavalier for Game One of the new season. Having a star player who doesn’t want to be on the team anymore is untenable in any sport. He will be moved at the earliest opportunity. His contract is quite friendly by today’s standards, so it won’t be an inhibitor.

Oddly, Irving’s bigger problem is similar to Kyle’s during his brief period as an Unrestricted Free Agent. There aren’t a lot of teams in desperate need for a point guard. Those squads Irving has supposedly mentioned as desirable landing spots (Spurs, Knicks, Heat, Timberwolves) aren’t particularly good fits for various reasons. And why in the world would you want to go to the Knicks?

But I’ll tell you this in closing. If Kyle could be moved immediately, I’d give this trade serious consideration.

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