Over the past few weeks, there have been several reports linking the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers to the Phoenix Suns, among other teams, in potential trade discussions — most of which revolve around Kyrie Irving‘s availability. As most Cavs fans know, Irving requested a trade in a meeting with team owner Dan Gilbert and newly-appointed general manager Koby Altman earlier this month.
After a fairly quiet start to their 2017 NBA offseason, the Cavs finally managed to make a few moves — moves that include their re-signing of sharpshooter Kyle Korver, the acquisitions of veteran point guard Jose Calderon and power forward Jeff Green, as well as their most recent addition of a former league MVP in Derrick Rose.
All of the aforementioned transactions are certainly noteworthy, but are the Cavs finished making moves? Will Gilbert and Altman trade Irving? Will LeBron James leave the team after this season, as several NBA aficionados believe? These are the questions that are currently running through the minds of the Cavaliers faithful.
As for whether or not the Cavs will trade Irving, that decision lies in the hands of team management, as he has two years remaining on his contract. However, now that his request for a trade has been made public, teams all across the association are likely hawking the situation with a keen eye.
Irving has reportedly given the Cavs a list of five teams that he would like to be traded to, but for whatever reason, the Suns were not on it. However, according to ESPN’s Pablo Torre, LeBron has been doing some “behind-the-scenes offseason hustling,” asking his close friend, former teammate, and newly-appointed Suns vice president of basketball operations, James Jones, if Josh Jackson would be available in a trade for Irving.
Jackson, 20, is a 6-8 small forward who was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Suns. As a First-Team All Big 12 player with the Jayhawks, Jackson averaged 16.3 points on 51% shooting (38% from downtown), 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game.
The Suns, according to Torre, have cordially replied to the Cavs’ inquiries as to whether or not Jackson is available, saying: “no, he is not.”
“LeBron James is doing some LeBron James offseason work,” Torre said during an episode of First Take. “And my understanding is, it’s not just Derrick Rose, it’s not just Eric Bledsoe. LeBron James happens to know a guy named James Jones. LeBron James is hustling behind the scenes, is my understanding, asking, ‘Is Josh Jackson available for Kyrie Irving?’ And the answer back that I heard is: ‘no, he is not.’ But LeBron James is hustling on behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers, at least for this one year.”
Maybe the Cavs trade Irving, maybe they don’t. Nobody on Flat Earth really knows what will become of this situation. It is interesting, however, to hear that James, who can become a free agent next summer, would still be committed to improving Cleveland’s future — whether he leaves or not.