With the earth-shattering news that Kyrie Irving’s requested trade destinations include Minnesota, here is why the Wolves shouldn’t try and land him.
Any deal for Irving would have to include Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague (who can’t be traded until December 15th due to the NBA’s recently signed restriction) and multiple first round picks, and that right there should be enough to deter Thibodeau from making a deal. Irving is an established offensive superstar, and brings the ability to light up the scoreboard every night, but beyond that he doesn’t add much. Defensively, he is one of the worst point guards in the league, but it is masked by playing with the best player in the world.
Wiggins at this point in his career is just as effective a scorer as Irving, but his defensive ceiling is exponentially higher. His athleticism and length bring a whole different dimension than Irving. Irving is a known commodity at this point, and is also a couple years older than Wiggins. Not to mention the numerous injuries that have taken years off of Irving’s career. Wiggins has missed one game in his three year career.
Thibodeau’s current roster doesn’t need another ball dominant scorer. Jeff Teague is a better fit for the system. His defense is average, he makes his teammates better more effectively than Irving, and he is much better suited to be a complimentary piece to the current stars the Wolves already have. Irving’s defense would also give defensive guru Thibodeau an aneurysm. Irving does not make his teammates better, and the offense was primarily run through Lebron James during the time they shared the court. Irving’s pick-and-roll tendencies indicate he doesn’t use screens to get other players open looks, but to get isolation looks for himself.
Wiggins is also not a playmaker, but he hasn’t necessarily needed to be at this stage of his young career. His scoring is equally explosive, without the efficiency from three-point range. The growth potential is also what makes him an attractive trade piece for the Cavaliers, who ironically drafted Wiggins and traded him shortly after for Wolves star Kevin Love.
With Wiggins discussing a massive $150 million extension, it doesn’t make sense to trade the budding superstar. Irving will be a free agent in two seasons, and will likely test the free agent market as all superstars do. He has also been known to be a bit peculiar. His recent comments about supporting the “flat-earth theory”, and his sudden desire to leave the team he won a title with two years ago, that happens to include the best player of this generation. His reasoning for the trade request was that he wanted to be the focal point of a team, and of the teams he listed (Minnesota, New York, Miami, San Antonio), Miami is the only team that doesn’t already have a franchise player.
With Lebron James’ contract expiring next year, it is hard to see him resigning with Cleveland if Irving is dealt. The Cavs are well on their way to being a dumpster fire, again.