It doesn’t seem as though Kyrie Irving is all that close to leaving the Cavs but at least now it seems we know what the Suns are prepared to give up to bring him to the desert.
Eric Bledsoe’s name has been brought up in Irving rumors ever since the Cavs star asked out of Cleveland. The Suns have also been consistent in their refusal to include 2017 first-round pick Josh Jackson or budding star Devin Booker in any deal. Now, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota has more details about what Phoenix would be willing to give up.
“The Phoenix Suns are the team to watch on Kyrie Irving,” Wolfson said on his podcast, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk. “Now, they won’t offer Josh Jackson plus that Miami 2018 first and Eric Bledsoe. I’m told they’ll do Bledsoe. They’ll do the pick. Plus, Dragan Bender.”
Bledsoe isn’t on Kyrie’s level and has missed 67 games over the past two seasons with knee trouble. When he’s on the court, though, he’s proven to be one of the better point guards in the NBA. Bledsoe averaged 21.1 points and 6.3 assists in 66 games last season before a reoccurrence of knee soreness forced him to the bench down the stretch.
Bender, 19, was the No. 4 pick in 2016 and played only sparingly as a rookie but at 7'1" has people intrigued by his potential. The combination of Bender and the Heat’s pick (top-seven protected next season, unprotected in 2019) would make this is future-oriented deal for the Cavs. It would certainly hurt their title chances in 2018, but it would be tough to find a trade for Irving that wouldn’t.
Irving’s list of preferred destinations was limited to the Knicks, Heat, Spurs and Timberwolves, but he doesn’t have a no-trade clause so the Cavs can move him for whatever package they value most. Irving also said he’s not willing to commit to any team past his current two-year contract.