The Waiting Game
As sports fans start to shift interest towards the NFL, there are still two lingering situations in the NBA that do not appear any closer to a resolution than when they started. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been engaged with several NBA teams on a Kyrie Irving trade, while the New York Knicks continue to hold out hope that they can extract more value out of a Carmelo Anthony trade than what’s currently available to them.
Here is the latest on each situation:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are not operating with any sense of urgency on finding a Kyrie Irving trade. League sources say they are continuing to field calls and talk through ideas, but that there is no sense of closure on the situation looming. In fact, there does not seem to be much urgency in how the Cavs are approaching the situation at all.
One source whose team has been trying to find a way to deal for Irving said this week that there does not seem to be anything of a deadline for the Cavs to make a decision. While the Cavs have been very focused and professional in their talks, this particular team did not have any sense of where they stood in the Cavs process, describing them as in “fact finding mode,” not necessarily deal making mode. That can always change quickly, but there doesn’t seem to be much urgency to find closure.
League source still peg the Phoenix Suns as the team that could win the trade, and as first round draft pick Josh Jackson becomes trade eligible this week, the Suns could win out if they included Jackson in an offer. The Suns at this point have been reluctant to engage on anything that included Jackson or guard Devin Booker, but there is a sense that almost anything else on the roster could be had in a deal for Irving.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are also considered a team that could win out in an Irving trade if they included Andrew Wiggins in a package. However, the Wolves are trying to reach a long-term extension with Wiggins and have deemed him not available in trade. Wolves ownership has said an extension with Wiggins will not be about money, as the Wolves are prepared to offer a Max deal. The negotiations in the deal would be tied to the length of the deal, option years and secondary terms like contract and trade bonuses.
The Miami HEAT continue to be a team mentioned as having an interest in an Irving trade. However, the team itself has gone to great lengths to shoot down the notion they have offered any particular player to the Cavs.
League sources peg this trade as huge for the Cavaliers organization, and that newly appointed general manager Koby Altman has to get this trade right. Not only will the fruits of an Irving trade impact the upcoming NBA season, but it will have a sweeping impact on the future of Cavs star LeBron James. The prevailing belief is that if the Cavaliers are not back in the NBA Finals this year with a roster that can compete, it’s more likely LeBron exits Cleveland next summer. If Altman can pull off the right deal, he could not only cement the Cavs as the top team in the East this year, but if the Cavs can be competitive post-Irving, they may have a shot at keeping LeBron beyond his current contract.
With the magnitude of the situation hanging over everyone’s head in Cleveland, it’s no wonder the Cavaliers are taking their time. The future of the team is dependent on getting this right.
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was in Baltimore this week in support of the city and its hosting of The Basketball Tournament championship game, he spoke briefly with media trying to avoid addressing his situation with the Knicks.
Anthony did say that he has not really spoken to the Knicks since the season ended and that he was not going to address the trade rumors surrounding him.
With the Knicks front office situation settled, the prevailing thought in NBA circles is that the Knicks are not going to agree to the long-rumored trade with the Houston Rockets. The commentary coming out of New York is that a Houston deal offers nothing of real value to the Knicks and moving Carmelo simply to take on contracts and players they do not want or view as pieces of the future is not appealing or agreeable to Knicks leadership.
The Knicks at this point seem like they will bring Anthony to training camp if he will not expand his list of agreeable trade destinations or unless the return through Houston changes to their favor.
The problem facing the Rockets is that the Knicks do not want the players they would be willing to move and by involving additional teams they will be diluting the possible return to the Knicks, as each new team takes something of value out of a package for themselves.
While this situation seems more like a standoff than say the Irving/Cavs situation, the Knicks, at least at this point, are holding firm to the idea that if Anthony wants a trade out of New York (and its completely clear that he does), the deal has to return real value to the Knicks. Currently, nothing on the table with Rockets achieves that.
While neither situation seems like it will be resolved soon, there are some milestones and dates to keep in mind: Training camps in the NBA open the week of September 25. The regular season will open on October 17, while the 2017-18 NBA trade deadline will be February 8.
While it’s unlikely either team wants their player in training camp with their current teams, it is possible that the respective teams may roll the dice on the circus and bring each to training camp. Neither team seems willing to take what’s currently on the table, so we’ll see if time improves the offers.
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