Kyrie Irving Requests Trade: Top Possible Landing Spots

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Kyrie Irving has officially asked for a trade out of Cleveland, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Friday.

A league source told Windhorst that Irving met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert last week and requested to be traded. The guard reportedly wants to go to a team “where he can be a more focal point and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James,” the report said.

“Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Irving’s agent Jeff Wechsler told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”

James was reportedly “blindsided and disappointed” at hearing the news while his teammates had learned of his desire to be traded in the days leading up to the formal request.

The news of the request comes just days after Irving said Cleveland was “in a peculiar place” during an interview with Sports Illustrated.

Irving is entering the third season of his $94 million contract extension with the Cavs. He’s eligible for the Designated Player Veteran Extension next summer if he earns All-NBA honors this upcoming season with the Cavs. The extension would be at five-years, $219 million, but he wouldn’t be eligible for the same extension if he was traded. He’s due to be a free agent in 2019.

Check below to see some of the top candidates where Irving could possibly land, in no particular order.

San Antonio Spurs

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving laid out a list of teams he would prefer to be traded to. Among the top franchises on that list is the Spurs, reports say.

San Antonio has a proven track record of success and experience with a budding superstar in Kawhi Leonard. It seems the only thing they lack at competing with the Golden State Warriors in the West is a star point guard.

Right now, the depth chart has Dejounte Murray starting with Patty Mills and Tony Parker behind him.

Right around the time news of the Irving trade request was published, Wojnarowski said that the Spurs agreed to a three-year deal with Pau Gasol to come back to San Antonio.

With the way things are shaping up, it seems logical that Irving to San Antonio could be a real possibility.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Also on the list of Irving’s preferred landing spots, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, is Minnesota.

The Timberwolves have been extremely busy making deals this summer and have organized quite the starting lineup for the upcoming season.

As it sits right now, Minnesota’s starting five is Jeff Teague at point, Jimmy Butler at shooting guard, Andrew Wiggins at small forward, Taj Gibson at power forward and Karl-Anthony Towns at center.

Minnesota also signed veteran guard Jamal Crawford to shore up its lineup.

Trading for Irving would certainly continue Minnesota’s upward trend and solidify them as a playoff contender in the Western Conference.

New York Knicks

While a move to New York City wouldn’t exactly grant Irving his wishes in owning the spotlight, it would certainly make the Knicks a team to beat and lay a firm foundation for the future.

Irving and Carmelo Anthony‘s relationship is well-documented, and the two were spotted playing as teammates in a pickup game earlier this week. Perhaps they were talking about the possibility of Irving heading out to NYC?

Irving on the court at the same time as Kristaps Porzingis and Anthony would finally give the Knicks something to talk about as they look to recover from another lackluster offseason.

Miami Heat

The final team on Irving’s list of preferred places is reportedly Miami.

A move to the Heat would make sense for both Miami and Irving and would give him an opportunity to start over and be one of the focal points of the offense — along with Hassan Whiteside.

Right now, the Heat have Goran Dragic starting at point with Tyler Johnson behind him.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers just sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in a trade and will be looking to make up for the massive loss. After signing Blake Griffin to a long-term deal a few weeks ago, a big-time guard is exactly what the Clippers need, especially after losing a veteran like Crawford to the T-Wolves.

As their depth chart currently sits, the Clippers have Milos Teodosic as the point guard with Patrick Beverley starting at shooting guard.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are in need of a proven player after severing ties with point guard Rajon Rondo after one season and trading Butler to Minnesota on draft night.

Right now, the Bulls have Kris Dunn as their starting point guard with Jerian Grant behind him. Acquiring Irving in a trade would be a huge pickup and would immediately steer the Bulls, who seem to be in a rebuilding mode, right back into contention.

Utah Jazz

Around the time the free agency period started, there were rumors of the Cavs trading Irving to the Jazz in a potential trade.

Obviously, those rumors never came to fruition, but the Jazz’s link to Irving is certainly worth taking a look at once again with the latest reports.

Utah is starting Ricky Rubio at point guard with Dante Exum behind him, but it would be a no-brainer to add Irving if the deal is right. Especially after losing star player Gordon Hayward in free agency to the Boston Celtics.

Irving said he was looking for a bigger role on a team, and he would most certainly have that in Utah.