With training camp just weeks away, there are few major deals left that could be made. The biggest exception to that is the expected trade of Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving who demanded to be dealt last month.
This put the Cavaliers in a real bind as not only is Irving asking to be moved, but LeBron James will be a free agent next summer and there is no guarantee that he will remain in Cleveland beyond this season. Rumors have been rampant that James could join the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018.
With LeBron’s free agency looming over the Irving deal, the Cavaliers are reportedly focused not on making a win-now move, but rather landing a young star according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“The Cavaliers find themselves far more fixated on a young star, including New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson and Denver’s Jamal Murray, league sources told ESPN.”
Cleveland’s mindset makes sense from their point of view. Moving Irving for more established players would make them better immediately, but should LeBron leave next summer, they would be stuck with a below average team with little potential to grow.
By landing someone like Tatum, Jackson, or Murray they might take a step back in the short-term, but it would set them up to have a future cornerstone. It is a difficult line to balance for a franchise expected to compete for a championship.
The good news for the Cavaliers is that Irving has no control over where he can land. While Irving does have a list of preferred destinations, Cleveland can send him to whoever gives them the best deal and with Irving still having two years left on his deal, teams will be more willing to give up a little more for the four-time All-Star.
There is still plenty that could happen before training camp kicks off and this will surely be a story to watch over the next few weeks.