Back when he was on the trade block in July and August, Kyrie Irving reportedly had San Antonio on his list of preferred destinations. And according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs weren’t just a bystander as the Cavaliers were considering their options. The Spurs “tried really, really hard” to land Irving, Woj said on ESPN late last night, per Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link).
Patty Mills, Tony Parker, and Dejounte Murray have handled point guard duties for the Spurs this season, and while they’ve been solid, the team clearly would have received a boost at the position by trading for Irving. However, it’s not clear what sort of package the front office could have put together that would have enticed the Cavs.
Unlike the Celtics, the Spurs weren’t holding any particularly attractive draft assets, since their own future first-round picks are unlikely to land in the lottery. LaMarcus Aldridge, who had yet to sign his new contract extension when Irving was dealt, could have been a trade chip. Danny Green probably would have appealed to Cleveland as well, but if the Cavs wanted to acquire a starting-caliber point guard for Irving, finding a match would have been tricky — Parker is 35 years old, Mills won’t be trade-eligible until January 15, and the 21-year-old Murray isn’t yet ready for a huge role.
While the Spurs’ pursuit of Irving didn’t pan out, Woj’s report on their strong interest in the former Cavs guard is the latest indication that San Antonio continues to explore ways to add star power, particularly at the point guard spot. The Spurs were also frequently linked to Chris Paul last spring before he was traded to Houston.