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Any concern about losing All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving should become secondary for the Cleveland Cavaliers right now because he doesn’t even have the ability to become an unrestricted free agent.
Deng is an All-Star small forward and a consummate winner. They were extremely fortunate to be able to turn a huge mistake in Andrew Bynum into his acquisition. He’s the kind of guy you need in your locker room if you’re going to change the culture, which the Cavaliers need to do in the worst kind of way. He’s also the kind of player who could help convince a guy like Irving to stay, so he should really be the top priority, not Irving.
There’s been a lot of talk about the Cavaliers overhauling their roster at the trade deadline, which is easy to say but harder to do without downgrading in talent. It’s no secret how big of a mess their locker room is right now, but Deng and Irving are two players you can build around. If you have to get rid of the trouble around them for less than equal value, it’s worth it to take a couple steps back to hopefully take several forward in the future – but more importantly not lose your two best players. Because once one goes, the chances of the other staying decreases dramatically.
Deng publically denied Lawrence’s report Saturday night, as you would expect someone of his character to, but the Cavaliers can’t rely on that. They have to make sure that they give Deng more reasons to stay than leave, and they’re not off to a great start so far.
Expect this to become the norm moving forward as long as there appears to be a glimmer of hope that Durant would leave the Thunder in free agency when his current contract expires in 2016.
The Wizards are an interesting option to think about, though, because Durant was born in Washington, D.C. However, we’ve seen plenty of cases in the past where players are actually opposed to the idea of playing in their hometown because of all the distractions that would come with it.
Durant seems to live a pretty distraction-less life, and it’s hard to imagine that would really change even if he were to move back home. What will help the Wizards more than anything is having a supporting cast in place that Durant feels he can win with. They have an attractive core forming with Wall and Brad Beal, but they’re going to have to prove that they can win without him at a high rate over the next two years if the Wizards are going to have a chance in what is sure to be a free agency pursuit for the decades.
There’s not much that a change of agents would do for Irving, anyway. There’s no question that the Cavaliers are going to offer him the maximum, which every agent in the league would encourage him to accept, no matter how bad the situation is. Wechsler is one of the best agents in the business as well, so even if he were to go to one of the other power agents, his situation would still be the same. Plus, with Irving being one of his premier clients, it’s hard to imagine him not willing to go to the same extents any other agent would in attempt to appease him. As Irving basically said, move along – there’s nothing to see here, with this matter at least.
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