The dissipation of the Cleveland Cavaliers could be starting sooner rather than later, and the Minnesota Timberwolves could be beneficiaries.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, point guard Kyrie Irving is seeking a trade in order to have a more significant role elsewhere.
Irving has spent the last three seasons playing with LeBron James and reached the NBA Finals all three years, winning once. His clutch 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals capped an epic Cleveland comeback over Golden State after trailing in the series 3-1.
While it’s baffling to imagine why anyone would want to part ways with a transcendental superstar (unless rumblings of James’ impending departure from Cleveland are true), some team is likely to land an elite 25-year-old player who’s averaged over 21 points per game in his career.
That’s where the Timberwolves come in.
ESPN Sources: On Kyrie Irving front, Cavs were given four preferred landing spots: New York, Miami, San Antonio, Minnesota.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 21, 2017
Of the four, the Timberwolves certainly seem the black sheep. New York is a major market looking for a savior. Miami is a warm-weather city with a winning tradition. San Antonio is San Antonio.
Plus, to acquire Irving, the Wolves would likely have to unload a pair of young players as the Cavaliers would surely want to begin a youth movement if James were to follow Irving out of Cleveland. Does Minnesota want to mortgage its future, though, with Golden State still dominant in the Western Conference? Andrew Wiggins, who ironically began his career with the Cavaliers before being shipped over in the Kevin Love trade, would seemingly have to be part of the package.
While it doesn’t seem like the Wolves will actually land Irving, fans can consider it flattering that he’d contemplate joining them after a 13-year playoff drought. Just another sign that this woebegone franchise has momentum.