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Surprise team favored to land Kyrie Irving in blockbuster trade

Vincent Frank

Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving will soon take part in actual basketball games. The NBA champion remains unvaccinated for COVID-19 and has remained away from the team for the first 32 games of the season.

Irving just recently cleared NBA’s COVID-19 protocols and will be able to take part in road games moving forward on the season.

With that said, there’s growing rumors suggesting that the Nets’ organization is not happy with Irving’s stance against being vaccinated and his all-around enigmatic personality. It led to the team taking calls about a potential trade earlier in the season.

We now have some more on this situation with odds being placed on where Kyrie Irving might land if he is dealt ahead of the February NBA trade deadline.

Related: Find out where Kyrie Irving ranks among NBA’s top 50 players

Cleveland Cavaliers favored to land Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
JBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: +200
  • Portland Trail Blazers: +400
  • Los Angeles Lakers: +500
  • Philadelphia 76ers: +600
  • Dallas Mavericks: +800
  • Denver Nuggets: +1000
  • Houston Rockets: +1000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: +1000

Yes, you read that right. Maxim Bet’s odds favor Irving returning to Cleveland for a second stint with the Cavaliers. Remember, he played in Ohio for the first six seasons of his career after the Cavs made the Duke product the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

There’s other intriguing betting options here, too. In particular, Irving teaming up with former teammate LeBron James in Los Angeles would be all sorts of ironic given how their relationship took a turn prior to Irving requesting a trade ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Related: Updated NBA Playoff and Finals predictions

How might a Kyrie Irving trade look?

kyrie irving trade, los angeles lakers
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It was reported earlier in the season that Irving’s trade value is pretty much non-existent. That has to do with the cloud of drama that has hovered over the seven-time All-Star since his final season with the Cavaliers.

However, it’s hard to ignore the talent Irving brings to the table. If his head is screwed on right, the star point guard can be a difference-maker for a contending team.

  • Kyrie Irving stats (2020-21): 26.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 51% shooting, 40% three-point

Irving is coming off his best statistical season. He’s still only 29 and remains in the prime of his career. That’s hard for contending teams to ignore.

As for the aforementioned odds, there’s a whole financial components to this. Hence, why some teams are favored to land Irving over others.

  • Kyrie Irving contract situation: Player option of $36.5 million for 2022-23 season

It’s an open question whether Irving will exercise said option or look to cash in on a huge long-term pay day once the summer comes calling. Teammate Kevin Durant inked a four-year extension this past August. Meanwhile, James Harden also has a player option ($47.37 million) for the 2022-23 season.

This is a major backdrop as it relates to what teams might offer a championship-contending Nets team for Irving in-season. Assuming he picks up said option (or at least tells an acquiring team his plans), Irving’s value will increase.

Related: Ideal Kyrie Irving trade scenarios

The specifics would be interesting. In fact, let’s look at the teams with the four-best odds to land Kyrie Irving in a trade and how a deal might come together.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love would have to be included in pretty much every scenario to make the contracts work. Whether that’s something the Nets even consider remains to be seen. Perhaps, a surprising Cavs team can sweeten the pot with big man Lauri Markkanen. Realistically, star young guard Darius Garland wouldn’t be on the table in hypothetical trade talks.
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Obviously, the Nets would likely demand Damian Lillard in trade talks. That’s just not going to happen. Any potential deal here would include sharpshooting guard C.J. McCollum and other pieces heading to Brooklyn. A core of Harden, Durant and McCollum might just be good enough to come out of the east. It would also lead to less drama within the Nets’ organization.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Russell Westbrook’s contract is a downright albatross right now. That doesn’t even take into account his contentious relationship with Kevin Durant when the latter bolted OKC for Oakland years back. Perhaps, Los Angeles offers up Anthony Davis in return for Irving. Then again, just how solid is Irving’s relationship with King James? So much to look at here.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: We’ve heard rumors about a potential Kyrie Irving for Ben Simmons swap. Two enigmatic figures who have yet to suit up this season. In reality, this might make the most sense. Irving would provide Joel Embiid a much better scoring option. Meanwhile, the Nets could use Simmons’ defensive capabilities with Harden and Durant being able to shoulder the scoring load.

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