The Suns were “very” close to acquiring Kyrie Irving on draft day, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (via Twitter). Irving’s trade request reportedly didn’t happen until early July, but it appears the Cavaliers were having discussions about their star point guard as they explored ways to upgrade their roster in June, before he formally asked to be moved.
According to Gambadoro (Twitter links), the Suns still have the pieces to land Irving, but any deal would require the team to part with Eric Bledsoe, Josh Jackson, and more. Gambadoro isn’t sure exactly what else the Cavs would ask for in addition to Bledsoe and Jackson, but the price may be too steep for Phoenix.
Here’s more on Irving:
- According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst on The Lowe Post podcast, the Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving around the time of the draft (hat tip to Dan Feldman of Pro Basketball Talk). Cleveland likely wouldn’t have accepted George straight up for Irving even after he made his trade request, given George’s expiring contract, but if they’d known Kyrie wanted out at that time, it could have made those discussions with Indiana much more interesting.
- The Cavaliers have heard from virtually every team in the league in some capacity, though some are more interested in Irving than others, a source tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. According to Kyler, the situation is unlikely to get resolved quickly.
- Kyler also suggests that Cleveland would like to reduce its projected tax bill in an Irving deal, with one source predicting that any team acquiring Irving will have to take on at least Iman Shumpert‘s contract.
- Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com suggests that LeBron James is “eager to see [Irving] off,” but the four-time MVP denied that report in a tweet, suggesting that it needs “another source.”
- Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suggested that the Irving drama in Cleveland is “not necessarily the kind of drama that the league wants.” Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com has the details and the quotes from Silver, who called the situation “upsetting.”
- Here are several of Monday’s Irving-related notes and updates.