The San Antonio Spurs wanted to acquire Kyrie Irving but obviously didn’t walk out successfully.
In July, the San Antonio Spurs were linked to Kyrie Irving, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He desired a trade to the Alamo City, among a handful of other NBA teams. However, the Cavaliers traded him to the Boston Celtics, getting Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
Of course, if the Spurs traded for Irving, the 2017-18 team would look drastically different, compared to how it’s looked through nearly half of this season. Tony Parker, Patty Mills and Dejounte Murray have all started at point guard through the first two-plus months of this campaign.
How close was San Antonio to the Irving deal? That’s unknown, but during SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the Silver and Black “tried really really hard to get him.” It’s via a tweet from Ramona Shelburne, who noted Wojnarowski’s comment:
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 4, 2018
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What did a potential trade package look like? This could have included anyone, from LaMarcus Aldridge to Danny Green, Bryn Forbes, Kyle Anderson, Murray or other young pieces. Given what the Celtics provided the Cavaliers, it would have been impossible to match the first-round pick value, the controllable talent (Crowder, Zizic) and a talented player on an expiring but cheap contract (Thomas).
Acquiring the Duke product would have been the Spurs’ counter to the offseason’s superstar transactions; Paul George and Carmelo Anthony went to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul chose the Houston Rockets and the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Jimmy Butler. Would the Spurs have “won” the offseason?
Another “what-if” includes Kawhi Leonard’s injury. If Irving was around, the offense would be his, at least for the first quarter of the season. What position would the Spurs be in?
Irving won’t be a Spur, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t halt its attempt to acquire another All-Star, especially at point guard. With Parker’s decline and Murray in development, could something happen in the 2018 offseason?