This year’s NBA trade deadline could end up bringing a surprise blockbuster, much like last year’s James Harden-Ben Simmons swap that quickly developed in the final hour. Now that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, the All-NBA point guard could be the next superstar basketball player headed to a new destination.
As the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline draws near, if an Irving trade happens, it will have to be completed quickly. With that in mind, here are just a few ideal trade scenarios for Kyrie Irving.
Minnesota Timberwolves swap DLo for Irving
Minnesota Timberwolves get: Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets get: D’Angelo Russell, Naz Reid, Wendell Moore Jr., 2023 second-round pick (via NYK)
Both the Nets and Timberwolves are in similar situations when it comes to their point guards. Each starter, Irving and Russell is set for free agency, and coming to terms on a contract extension hasn’t worked out. Both are undeniably starting-caliber players, with Russell a one-time All-Star, and Irving much more accomplished as an NBA Champion and three-time All-NBA player.
We also have two teams currently projected to make the playoffs, and in Minnesota’s case, they have limited resources available to try and secure a long-term point guard solution, yet for whatever reason, they haven’t seen eye to eye with DLo on his contract value.
After struggling to begin the season, Russell has picked up the slack since Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury and is now averaging new career highs both from the field and from distance. He’s far from getting back to his one-time All-Star form (which he achieved in Brooklyn), but Russell is showing he still has value as a 26-year-old scoring guard.
Naz Reid has quietly become a force, both on the perimeter and in the paint. Averaging just under a block per game, Reid offers more rim protection than you would expect from a 6-foot-9 center, but his real value lies in his ability to score, in which he’s had four games with 20 or more points despite averaging just 18 minutes per game. Reid’s pending free agency lowers his value a bit, but if the Nets like him long-term, there could be a fit here.
Wendell Moore, the 26th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, hasn’t seen much action as a rookie, averaging just 5.6 minutes per game, but the 21-year-old wing could be a valuable part of the rotation in the future, providing more than just one year of value.
If Irving is deadset on moving on, and if the Wolves don’t feel confident in their ability to retain Russell, then these two could be ideal trade partners.
New Orleans Pelicans make blockbuster trade for Irving
New Orleans Pelicans get: Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets get: Devonte’ Graham, Kira Lewis Jr., Jaxson Hayes, Garrett Temple, Willy Hernangomez, 2023 first-round pick (via LAL), 2024 first-round pick
When healthy, the New Orleans Pelicans have shown a trio of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and C.J. McCollum can be one of the most dangerous threats out of the Western Conference. Could you imagine if they added yet another All-Star to that potent bunch of talent?
The Pels have plenty of draft capital to part with should they decide to make an all-in push, and while Jose Alvarado’s continued development has been incredible, he’s unlikely to become a starter. C.J. McCollum is an effective scorer, but Irving’s ability to distribute the ball is much more ideal for a lineup full of stars.
For the Nets, they would be loading up on hope. Hope that Devonte’ Graham can return to top form after averaging 18.2 points per game as a sophomore. Maybe they can also get a bit more out of Kira Lewis Jr., the 13th pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, who has shown incredible quickness but little else.
More so, the Nets would be recouping some of the lost draft capital they’ve traded over the years, and the Lakers’ 2023 first-round pick could go either way at this point. Combined, both picks would start injecting youth into Brooklyn’s roster again. If the Nets want future draft compensation, the Pelicans may be their best bet.