Kyrie Irving has asked the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him, and that could have a real impact on the Rockets.
Kyrie would like to be the focal point of his own team instead of playing second fiddle to LeBron James.
This news sent shock waves throughout the league and set NBA Twitter on fire.
LeBron James was reportedly “blindsided and disappointed” by Kyrie’s request, according to Windhorst.
Could this affect the Rockets?
Keep in mind that Kyrie Irving does not have a no-trade clause in his contract. In the end, Kyrie doesn’t have control over where the Cavs trade him. In an effort not to overcomplicate things, we’ll assume that Cleveland deals him to one of his preferred destinations.
Kyrie Irving listed four teams that he would prefer a trade to: San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and New York Knicks, with San Antonio being his team of choice.
Sources: In the Kyrie Irving meeting with Cavs, one of primary teams raised as a preferred trade destination for him: The San Antonio Spurs.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 21, 2017
A trade to the Miami Heat wouldn’t change anything for the Rockets, but a deal sending Irving to the Spurs, Wolves or Knicks will.
How an Irving deal to the Knicks affects the Rockets
The Knicks are the last team that Rockets fans want the Cavaliers to complete a deal with.
Knicks, per sources, would consider including Melo & future 1st-rounders in package for Kyrie. Porzingis not being offered at the moment. https://t.co/vCs97MnW4Q
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 22, 2017
The Cavaliers and Rockets were the only two teams that Carmelo Anthony was willing to waive his no-trade clause for. The Knicks are looking to rebuild and what better way to start than by trading for a 25-year-old Kyrie Irving?
If Carmelo is dealt to Cleveland, he won’t be traded to Houston, which is sad news for Rockets fans.
How an Irving deal to the Spurs affects the Rockets
Besides the Warriors and Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs are the third juggernaut team in the West. The Spurs won 61 games and made it to the Western Conference Finals last season, and they would’ve given Golden State a good series had Kawhi Leonard not gotten injured.
The Spurs would have to trade away a lot of assets to get Irving, but a Kyrie and Kawhi duo is scary any way you slice it. Both players are heading into their prime years and will give the Rockets fits in playoff series for years to come.
The Spurs have been the most successful NBA team over the past two decades. San Antonio has made the playoffs in 20 consecutive seasons and won five championships in that time. When Gregg Popovich has a talented team, he knows exactly what to do with it.
How an Irving deal to the Wolves affects the Rockets
The Timberwolves had arguably the best offseason in the NBA. They acquired Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford. Those are great assets, especially when you already have two emerging stars in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
The Wolves are already a playoff-caliber team, but adding Kyrie Irving to their recently lengthened depth chart would put them in another category. Minnesota has a few glaring deficiencies, they ranked 26th in defensive rating and last in three-pointers made per game, but Irving would make Minnesota a top four team in the West.
The Wolves will only get better as the years go by. Jimmy Butler is the oldest of their stars at 27, and KAT is the youngest at 21. Irving, Butler, Wiggins and Towns would form a dominant team, no matter who else fills out the roster.
A Kyrie Irving trade to the Knicks, Spurs or Timberwolves could place a roadblock on the Rockets Finals street.