Kyrie Irving reportedly wants out of Cleveland. Where will he go? Bill Simmons, Kevin O’Connor, and Joe House shared some potential destinations — some serious, some off-the-wall — on the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.
Simmons: It involves Klutch client Eric Bledsoe, who a lot of people would argue that — as long as he can stay on the court and he’s healthy — might be a better two-way player than Kyrie. Certainly not as an offensive player, but a much better defensive player.
Cleveland ends up getting Bledsoe and Carmelo. And they send a couple contracts to make everything work. That was the most logical trade I’ve seen.
O’Connor: I’m on Team Melo in the sense that I think you put him around other great players and he will be really good. If you put him on Houston, he’s going to become Team USA Carmelo Anthony. His efficiency will skyrocket. However, I do think with Cleveland, Eric Bledsoe really isn’t a good spot-up shooter, and the ball would primarily be in LeBron’s and Carmelo’s hands. Carmelo wasn’t nearly the shooter off the dribble that Kyrie Irving is, so while conventional wisdom may say Melo would replace that aspect that Irving brings, it’s not necessarily the case. Irving is a significantly better half-court scorer, significantly better isolation scorer, and I think that would need to be replaced in some way or another. Either it would have to be balanced by more defensive players or a high-upside player that could really turn it on this season.
Memphis gets: Irving, Tristan Thompson, a contract
Cleveland gets: Marc Gasol, Mike Conley
Simmons: Readers are just emailing me crazy trades and I’ve actually been enjoying it.
Charlotte gets: Irving
Cleveland gets: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum
Simmons: House, Tate wants to know if you think Charlotte can get Kyrie for Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum.
House: I love Tate. The wishful thinking. … It is incredible how young Kyrie is and how much of his prime is yet to be had. He’s been in the Finals three straight years. He feels like he’s been around longer. So he’s a tremendous haul for somebody, which is why Cleveland ought to just sit tight unless it gets an out-of-the-ballpark, home-run kind of deal. I’m not sure that Batum and Kemba quite fit the criteria.
Boston gets: Irving
Cleveland gets: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, a future pick
Simmons: I don’t think Cleveland would ever trade with Boston, but I think it’s ironic that Boston probably has the best type of package that would help Cleveland short term and long term. Isaiah would have to be in it. You’d have to put Jae Crowder in it to make the contract work. And then you could pick whatever future pick you’d want to throw in there too. I don’t think they’d put the Brooklyn pick, especially now that Marvin Bagley might be in this draft. [This] will never happen in a million years, but is a trade that could keep Cleveland at least somewhere near where they need to be. Am I crazy?
O’Connor: No, I think that would make sense for both teams, but at the same time if I’m Cleveland I’m still seeking out a better mix of some younger players that can help immediately as well.
Minnesota gets: Irving
Cleveland gets: Andrew Wiggins???
Simmons: We all agree, Minnesota, there’s no way.
O’Connor: Unless Wiggins is on the table.
Simmons: Well, if I’m Minnesota, Wiggins goes on the table for me in five seconds. I don’t even blink. You and I agree that Wiggins is really overrated in a lot of ways. He’s just atrocious defensively, but I think offensively has a lot of potential and he’s young and he might mature into something really good. But the [Jeff] Teague contract to me is prohibitive because they wouldn’t be able to trade Teague until December.
Houston gets: Irving
Cleveland gets: Chris Paul
Simmons: Houston would never trade Chris Paul for Kyrie, especially after they’ve had the press conference and started selling the jerseys, but it would be the all-time Daryl Morey move, to just flip Chris Paul for Kyrie. Be like, "All right, I’m gonna step in here, I’m gonna take Kyrie! Thanks! I have a point guard who’s [seven] years younger and is just better at this."
Simmons: Do we all agree Kyrie is going to stay put? House, you’re dangling from a helicopter as people are shooting barbecue sauce pellets at you, and you have to decide, is Kyrie getting traded or not? And your life depends on it. What do you pick?
House: First I’m catching as many of those pellets as I can and putting them into my mouth, and then I’m betting on Kyrie staying in Cleveland. I just don’t think that anybody can make a sizable enough offer for it to make sense for Cleveland.
Simmons: Also, you have an organization that’s kind of a mess internally and will talk themselves into, "Let’s make this work, we’ll have a summit meeting with these guys, they’ll say all these things."
House: That’s not a mistake, it’s the right play.