On Friday afternoon, reports came out that Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded away from the Cavaliers in order to receive a “bigger role” elsewhere. Kyrie Irving listed four preferred destinations: Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, and the New York Knicks. The Knicks are an intriguing team, as Carmelo Anthony has been linked to the Cavs. Here’s what a Kyrie Irving to the Knicks trade would look like.
The Knicks are two million dollars over the salary cap, which is pretty flexible compared to Cleveland’s situation, as they are 41 million dollars over the salary cap. Assuming that Carmelo Anthony is sent to the Cavs, the Cavs will have to send some more money with Kyrie to make the deal possible.
Cleveland could potentially get rid of some contracts (Iman Shumpert or JR Smith Knicks Reunion??), but that would maybe cost them a first-round pick. The Cavs are so deep in the luxury tax, it may have to happen unless Dan Gilbert wants to pay a massive check. The luxury tax (Cavs are 20m over) is dangerous because the number multiplies the deeper a team goes into it.
Cleveland would most likely acquire picks in the trade, as Kyrie Irving is more valuable than Carmelo Anthony. The Cavs could receive less picks depending on how much money they dump onto New York, or they could receive more if Carmelo Anthony wasn’t traded to the Cavs.
The Knicks have a pretty ordinary arsenal of draft picks, as they possess all their own first round picks. There’s no guarantee that the Knicks will be any good with Kyrie, so there’s a good chance that there’s a top-5 or top-10 protection on a pick.
A big factor in this trade is Carmelo Anthony. It would seem likely that Melo would go to Cleveland, but Dan Gilbert may decide that he’s tired of being in the luxury tax. Carmelo Anthony not going to Cleveland would be complicated, as Cleveland wouldn’t be getting Melo, but they would be avoiding a $24m a year contract.
It’s late in the offseason for the Cavs to blow everything up, so Carmelo would probably join LeBron James in Cleveland. And, the Knicks would most likely need the Cavs to take Melo, as he wants to be traded from New York.
Potential Targets New York Could Acquire with Kyrie Irving
Besides Kyrie, Cleveland will need to send some salary over to New York because Kyrie’s contract is $18.8 million compared to Melo’s $26.2m. Here are some guys that could make the trade possible.
Iman Shumpert ($10.3m) could find himself back in New York. Shumpert has struggled to score in Cleveland, but he has his career high in points (9.5 PPG) with the Knicks. In Cleveland, he’s proven himself as a solid defender. Shumpert could score more in New York, as he would get more looks.
Channing Frye ($7.4m) is a solid veteran presence who could provide leadership for a young basketball team that has young stretch bigs that include Kristaps Porzingis and Luke Kornet. At one point, Luke Kornet’s Instagram Bio read “Just trying to be the next Channing Frye”.
Why this Trade is Challenging
Cleveland is in the 2nd worst salary situation in the NBA behind Portland. They’re well in the luxury tax, so they will have to dump some salaries. But, New York doesn’t have much flexibility, so these salaries will have to match up.
NYK receives: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert
CLE receives: Carmelo Anthony, 2018 first round pick (top 5 protected), 2019 2nd round pick
Why this Works for New York
New York is getting a budding star. This may be a hefty price, but Irving seems to have the “Mamba” gene, where he is the guy that gets the ball with the clock winding down. Irving is only 25 years old, and he’s got an amazing contract situation. He’s got two years left, with annual salaries of $18.8 and $20m. He’s got a player option for the next season, but if New York is good then, you can convince almost anyone to play there. Considering the super max is 40m a year, this is a bargain.
Iman Shumpert ($10m) is a throw-in to complete the deal because of the difference in Melo’s and Kyrie’s salaries. But, Shumpert has previously been a New York Knick and is a good defender for the Knicks. He’s got experience with Kyrie, so he can come in a make the Knicks better.
Why this Works for Cleveland
Cleveland has been rumored to acquire Carmelo Anthony for a while, and with this trade they could do it. Although losing Kyrie is a bummer, Kyrie and Carmelo would be free agents at the same time (assuming Kyrie declines his player option), and there’s no guarantee Kyrie would stay in Cleveland, especially since he’s unhappy.
Carmelo is a forgotten star, and although he isn’t what he used to be, he could certainly be better with Cleveland and next to LeBron. Anthony averaged 22 PPG with New York last season and is another lethal scorer.
The Cavaliers are able to acquire a first-round pick, and it’s likely that the Knicks won’t make the playoffs, so the pick could be as high as #6 (due to protection). This could give the Cavs a chance to select a future star, which is an opportunity they don’t get very often.
This may not seem like much. but the Cavs are able to save $3m in the deal. That may not seem much, but the luxury tax multiplies, so that three million dollars could be 7+ million dollars that Dan Gilbert could save.