The basketball community lost their minds on Friday after prominent NBA insider Shams Charania reported superstar guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Despite sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with Kevin Durant closing in on a return to the court, Kyrie has decided a change of scenery is best for his career.
Though San Antonio is a remarkable city teeming with vibrant culture, the Spurs are a less-than-ideal destination for the controversial floor general. His off-court decorum goes against everything the Silver and Black stand for, and a rebuilding team can't offer Irving a win-now situation that suits his timeline. Regardless, PATFO could benefit by helping facilitate a move that satisfies his search for a new home.
There are whispers that Kyrie has an interest in joining the Lakers. Pulling off a deal between Brooklyn and Los Angeles would be nearly impossible, given their financial circumstances. That's where the roughly $26M in cap space in San Antonio comes into the equation, and here are the details of this potential three-team trade.
So how does the framework of this transaction benefit every organization involved? Let's start with the Nets. They receive three veteran players on short-term contracts that can help uphold their pursuit of a championship while providing them with the financial flexibility to chase marquee names in free agency this summer. Josh Richardson is a capable 3&D wing, Doug McDermott is an elite marksman, and Dennis Schroeder can carry primary ballhandling responsibilities in the second unit.
As for Los Angeles, that one is relatively self-explanatory. The Purple and Gold get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a superstar trinity of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyrie Irving. Since the Lakers might go all in on hunting rings during the twilight of The King's career, parting with a couple of first-rounders could be worth the price.
The Spurs arguably profit more than anyone else in this scenario. Not only does San Antonio take Doug McDermott off the payroll, but they shed the risk of losing Josh Richardson for nothing this offseason. They also obtain the added benefit of clearing around 44 rotation minutes that head coach Gregg Popovich can redisperse to budding prospects like Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley.
What can PATFO do with Russell Westbrook? He doesn't make sense for a lottery-bound franchise trying to foster development, and a nine-time All-Star deserves better than to warm the end of the bench while youngsters run around the hardwood. As harsh as it might sound, the best solution is to cut Russ and let him choose his next pit stop. He comes off their books at the end of the season, meaning this doesn't impact their pockets down the road.
Most importantly, San Antonio adds another pair of first-rounders to their ever-expanding treasure trove of assets. And when you're a small market club that lives and dies by your ability to identify talent in the draft, extra swings at the plate can only help your cause. This trade looks like a can't-miss chance for the Spurs to brighten their future.