Could the Pistons swing a deal for Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving?

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Mar 18, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) and Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) on the bench during the first half of a NBA game against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As those around the NBA sit back and watch the drama unfold in Cleveland surrounding Kyrie Irving, they are also closely monitoring the situation on his demand to be traded. Irving reportedly wants to be the ‘focal point’ and no longer in the shadow of LeBron James.

It has since then created a discord in the franchise and it could very well create a domino effect in the coming weeks. Approximately 20 teams have reportedly already expressed interest in trading for the 25-year-old point guard. Among those are the Pistons, who reportedly believe there is a “great possibility” Irving gets traded in the coming weeks.

This shouldn’t come as a real surprise for a number of reasons. He’s owed just under $39 million over the next two seasons, which is very reasonable given his talent level and the type of contracts recent NBA free agents have been earning the last two off-seasons.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
Mar 9, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) has words with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the fourth quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons won 106-101. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

But Irving also carries a player option for the 2019-20 season worth roughly $21.3M. However, that little wrinkle could complicate any trade talks surrounding the former one-and-done Duke star. It also worth mentioning that Irving has reportedly said he would not commit to any teams long-term, and would like to keep his options open following the expiration of his current pact.

Irving reportedly mentioned in a meeting with the Cavs’ top brass that the Heat, Knicks, Spurs and Timberwolves as potential destinations he would prefer if a trade were to be ironed out. Unfortunately for Kyrie, that preference would only carry so much weight, as he does not have the power to block any proposed trades.

Let’s turn it back to the Pistons connection now. Reportedly, the Cavaliers are happy to work things out as best as possible to meet the demands of their disgruntled employee. Having said that, they also would like a suffice enough package in return. Word is that the Cleveland is eyeing a package that features “a veteran starter, a blue chipper on a rookie contract, and a first-round pick for Kyrie Irving.”

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic
Mar 24, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson (1) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit already has quite a logjam of point guards. They have incumbents Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, newly-acquired Avery Bradley (traded for on July 7) and newly-inked Langston Galloway (signed on July 6). All of these guards, with the exception of Galloway, have a minimum six years of service time in the NBA, same amount as Irving. Jackson would easily be the likeliest of candidates, given his salary and play-making ability as a whole closely matches that of Irving.

The Pistons in any such trade may have to part ways with one of their three recent first-round picks – Stanley Johnson (2015), Henry Ellenson (2016) and Luke Kennard (2017). Johnson took a considerable step back and lost playing time in his sophomore campaign. Ellenson had a cup of coffee with Detroit last season appearing in only 19 games.

Maybe have already began to figure out the best landing spot for Irving. ESPN recently ran through the options via the trade machine and laid out a possible three-team deal involving the Pistons, Cavs and Los Angeles Clippers. Here were the results:

  • PISTONS GET: PG Kyrie Irving, C Tristan Thompson
  • CAVALIERS GET: PG Reggie Jackson, C DeAndre Jordan
  • CLIPPERS GET: SF Stanley Johnson, C Andre Drummond, future first-round pick (DET)

The pros and cons for acquiring Kyrie Irving via a trade have been well-documented, and head coach/team president Stan Van Gundy has openly said the Pistons have had “some level of conversation” with the Cavs on Irving. So it’s not much of a secret. Whether it truly comes to fruition remains to be seen.

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