Photo by the Associated Press

Any team that acquires Kyrie Irving in a trade with Cleveland is up for a huge challenge to convince him to stay put once his current contract expires.

Back in mid-July, Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers, stating he wants to play in a situation where he can be the focal point and that he no longer wishes to play with LeBron James, sources said.

With two-years remaining on his current deal, Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com is reporting that Irving would not commit to any teams that trade for him long-term.

“I’m told Irving is not about to commit to any team at this point. He has two seasons left on his contract and wants to keep his options open.”

Since the request came out, teams are aware that they have Irving for two years and need to convince him to stay with the team once his current contract ends. However, with no sign of assurance, most teams have shied away from parting with valuable assets to trade for Irving. It makes sense that Irving would ask the team that is trading for him whether they can be a competent and stable organization that is built not only for the present, but also the future once he joins them.

Looking at Cleveland’s front office, the Cavaliers have struggled to answer a few of the current demands from Irving and James, which has led to displeasure amongst their two current stars. To convince Irving to re-sign with the team who trades for him, not only should the team be in contention for a championship, but the organization should have a stable front office who will make sure Irving is the focal point in the team’s strategy, consulted about potential roster moves and quickly addresses issues that arise.

Even though Irving has yet to enter his prime at 25-years-old, the awkwardness of the trade request and the short timeline to do things has depressed the return Cleveland will get in any trade. Sure, his value is still relatively high due to his age and his ability to take over games, but he’s a liability on the defensive end. However, his defensive deficiencies shouldn’t prevent a deal from happening.

According to Cleveland.com, the Phoenix Suns have reported interest in acquiring Irving. In addition, Pluto believes the Suns are the likeliest team to land him.

I heard Phoenix would be very interested in dealing for Irving. But the Suns would want to know if Irving will sign an extension to stay in Phoenix. His contract is up in the summer of 2018. I’m told Irving is not about to commit to any team at this point. He has two seasons left on his contract and wants to keep his options open.

Final Thoughts

Cleveland might end up taking a deal that they don’t want because of Irving’s commitment to free agency. Again, the awkwardness of the trade request and the Cavaliers short timeline to convince James to stay in Cleveland forces the Cavaliers to move Irving before training camp begins, but seeing Kyrie’s unwillingness to commit long-term with a team who trades for him only depresses the trade market. It’ll be interesting to see what Cleveland gets in return if they deal Irving.

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