Friday's news of Kyrie Irving wanting to be traded to, among several places, San Antonio had Spurs fans buzzing. And while some doubt how realistic such a move would be, it makes more sense than you think.
Mainly, the Spurs have LaMarcus Aldridge, who's contract is similar to Irving's in value and length. Aldridge will get paid about $22 million each of the next two seasons (with a player option for that second season) while Irving will get paid around $19 to $21 million each of the next three seasons.
Irving has made it clear that he wants to leave Cleveland and would like to be a Spur. Only one person has reported that Aldridge is unhappy in San Antonio over the past few months but calling the ramblings of Stephen A. Smith a "report" is being pretty generous.
What we do know is that the Spurs were shopping LaMarcus Aldridge in the lead-up to the NBA draft looking to move into a top 5 pick.
Ultimately, Aldridge's contract is a great trade asset, nearly as valuable as Aldridge is as a player. And the closer we get to the end of that deal, which expires at the end of the 2018-2019 season if he exercises his player option (which he probably will), the more valuable it becomes.
For example, LeBron James was reportedly stunned by the news of Irving wanting to leave Cleveland. On top of that, LeBron also isn't happy with the way the Cavaliers have handled the general manager position. All of this is building up to LeBron possibly leaving Cleveland again once his current deal is up as he has a player option he can choose to opt out of at the end of the upcoming season.
One thing that the Cavaliers could do is trade for LaMarcus Aldridge, see how he fits in at the start of the season, build up his value as best they can, and try to trade him away either at the deadline or at the end of the upcoming season.
If the Cavs do that, they could create a ton of cap space among LeBron opting out for a new deal, Aldridge being traded away, releasing their non-guaranteed deals, and the salary cap going up.
You're talking about an estimated $60 million to work with and try to keep LeBron and possibly bring in another free agent like Paul George or Russell Westbrook.
And if you think that the Spurs would be too guard-heavy and are taking on too much money, the Spurs are in excellent position whether or not they do this deal.
If they keep Aldridge, they keep a great trade asset going forward and will have more than $20 million to work with in the offseason to sign free agents with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kyle Anderson's contracts up and even more if they can deal Aldridge or if he opts out of his contract.
If they pull off the trade, the Spurs will be small, but David Lee is still available and his market has dried up as he still hasn't signed with any team since he opted out of his deal. After next season, they have Manu Ginobili likely retiring and Tony Parker either leaving San Antonio for one last payout at the end of his career or staying in San Antonio to try to win another title for far less money.
Either way, the Spurs are in great position going forward and if they can stay healthy, can compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors for a championship.
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