The news that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers has sent the NBA and basketball fans into a frenzy.
Irving is one of the top point guards in the league, still in his prime, and on a contract that is manageable for the upcoming year.
A lot of trade rumors have been floating about what packages teams would put together to snag Irving from Cleveland, and with so many former Kentucky Wildcats in the league, several familiar names to the BBN were sure to pop up.
First, it was recently-drafted De’Aaron Fox being mentioned, and now, it looks like Eric Bledsoe and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are being mentioned.
Greg Swartz at Bleacher Report recently put together five trade packages the Cavs should explore and both former Wildcats were mentioned.
One involved sending Kyrie Irving to Charlotte, along with Iman Shumpert, for Kemba Walker and MKG.
“Irving's former high school teammate in New Jersey, Kidd-Gilchrist is a 6'7" premier wing-stopper who can guard four positions. He'd be perfect to put on the floor against the Warriors, switching seamlessly between their offensive weapons.”
MKG seems like a good fit in Cleveland, for exactly the reasons Swartz mentions. MKG is a long and athletic wing defender that could be a major piece in defending the likes of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Offensively, Walker isn’t a significant drop from Irving. During the 16-17 season, Irving averaged only 2 more points per game (25.2 to 23.2) and Irving shot 47.3 percent from the field compared to Walker’s 44.4 percent. Statistically, there isn’t much of a difference, so this could definitely be something for Cleveland to look at.
Bledsoe could be on his way to Cleveland. A theoretical deal could involve the Suns sending Bledsoe to Cleveland, but Swartz said he thinks that the Suns would need to add either #4 pick Josh Jackson or small forward T.J. Warren. Devin Booker would likely be a player the Cavs would target but one would think the Suns would be drooling over the idea of the offensive firepower coming from a Irving-Booker backcourt.
Bledsoe would definitely represent an upgrade defensively at the point guard position, but the Cavs would lose some scoring from that spot. Landing Josh Jackson would be a solid get for the Cavs, as a guy (like MKG) that can defend multiple positions on the wing and play the 4 in small-ball lineups.
With more and more news coming up, it’s hard to imagine that Irving will be a Cavalier much longer, and if they deal him, a former Wildcat could be part of it.