The Suns have been actively pursuing a Kyrie Irving trade, although they’re unwilling to part with Josh Jackson or Devin Booker. Here’s who they will offer.
Since news broke at the end of July that Kyrie Irving had requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers we’ve had several episodes of social media antagonism and a mountain of rumors and hypotheticals. But Irving is still a member of the Cavaliers, for now.
Two of the teams Irving has most often been linked to in rumors are the Suns and the Timberwolves. A deal likely hasn’t materialized because neither team is willing to part with prized assets — Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota and Booker and Jackson in Phoenix. Now a Timberwolves’ reporter has publicly characterized with the Suns have been offering for Irving.
Darren Wolfson of Minnesota’s 1500 ESPN is reporting that Phoenix would be willing to offer Eric Bledsoe, Dragan Bender and a first round pick:
The Phoenix Suns are the team to watch on Kyrie Irving. Now, they won’t offer Josh Jackson plus that Miami 2018 first and Eric Bledsoe. I’m told they’ll do Bledsoe. They’ll do the pick. Plus, Dragan Bender.
While Cleveland wouldn’t get either of the wings they covet, this deal could actually help them significantly, both now and in the future. Bledsoe is not the individual scorer that Irving is, no one is really, but he’s a more than capable offensive player and would be a significant upgrade as well.
Bender missed a good chunk of his rookie season with injury but he was one of the most prized prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft. A 7-foot forward with shooting touch, good passing ability, and excellent defensive potential, Bender could theoretically contribute in some capacity right away and also develop into a key piece for the future. Throw a first round pick on top of that and it’s a nice haul for Cleveland.
The unfortunate bottom line is that Cleveland doesn’t have much leverage here. If they hang on to Irving, they risk entering next season with an ugly chemistry problem. This may not be the deal they want but it’s a pretty healthy return for a player who clearly wants out.