As we are all well aware of at this point, Kyrie Irving, for a reason he gave, but sounded like the adults from Peanuts to me, wants to be traded from the three-time defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. If you live under a boulder the size of the boulder that chased Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Arc and don’t know this, here is the ESPN article by Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst, which is really fantastic journalism.
In the aftermath of the news that Kyrie wanted out, we also learned that his preferred landing spots were the Spurs, the Timberwolves, the Heat, and the Knickerbockers. Before I get into anything, I will disclose what I would have done as the GM of the Cavs, which is probably the number one reason I am not a GM, nor will I ever be. Once I heard the news, I would have picked up the phone and called all of the most irrelevant teams in the NBA. I would have traded Kyrie Irving to Atlanta for the vendor from their 200 level seats just to be petty and be like, “Oh you want to be the guy, Kyrie? Fantastic. Have an incredibly forgettable career.”
Now that I got that out of the way, I will also say that on the surface, I can’t really think of any trade scenarios that make perfectly sound sense all the way around. I will say that the Cavaliers have all the leverage, and I will also, also say that I am not convinced that they are going to actively try to move Kyrie at all for the 2017-2018 season. But, for the purpose of this particular, hypothetical scenario, none of that matters one bit.
I am proposing a trade that would send Kyrie Irving to the defending champion Golden State Warriors in exchange for shooting guard Klay Thompson.
Does it make any sense? Absolutely not. It makes the Warriors less good and the Cavaliers much better. If Bob Myers got a call from the Cavs front office proposing said trade, he would hang up the phone before the newly-hired Koby Altman got to the “Thompson” part of Klay Thompson’s name. Basically the only reason this trade would ever happen is if the Warriors just wanted to make their own season season harder and more interesting, which doesn’t seem like a thing they are very fond of doing.
But, what I’m asking from you for right now is to ignore all of that. Ignore the fact that it has never happened and will never happen in any alternative universe and just consider how god damn fun it would be.
The stage is set. The news has been broken by none other than up-and-coming powerhouse Smokehouse Sports. Your very own Jack Henkels did the fieldwork and worked with sources to break this monstrosity of a story.
The fallout is nuclear.
Within the hour, our website’s traffic has increased by close to a million times its daily numbers. So small-scale, this is huge for us.
But large-scale is where the Chernobyl-like effects are really being seen. As NBA Twitter normally does, this story absolutely takes over Twitter for days. No one can seem to talk about anything else. It’s even big enough for Adam Schefter to put on his new, but still only occasional, NBA hat. Unlike the usual stories, though, this one doesn’t subside. This is earth-shattering. This is the story to drive the entire NBA season narrative.
Let’s break down what this trade really does, in chronological order after the Twitter explosion.
First of all, Kyrie is not getting what he wants in any capacity. For him, he is really in a worse situation than he previously was. Instead of being the second-best player on his team and probably the best offensive player, he is now the fourth-best player on his team and the third-best offensive player. So in that regard, I am very happy because Kyrie shouldn’t get what he wants in this scenario.
Secondly, the Cavaliers increase their defense exponentially, and their offense probably improves also. Now, LeBron is the primary ball handler, with JR at the 2, Klay on the other wing, Love and Thompson rounding out the lineup. They now have 2 guys that can cover 1 through 4, JR, who is capable, and Thompson still there to lock down the interior (I purposely omitted Love because he doesn’t really impose defensively and in this hypothetical he doesn’t have to at all). Offensively, Klay will get only perfect passes directly to his shooters pocket every single time he touches the basketball.
(I will again use this moment to point out this is exactly why this trade doesn’t ever happen in any universe, but that’s the point! Just have some fun because hypotheticals that throw the Earth off its axis are probably the most fun thing ever.)
Those two points are strictly the basketball narrative. In other news, Cavs/Dubs pt. 4 is now more intact than it was before the trade. That is not boring. That is fun. Moreso, this would basically guarantee the series we were hoping for in the Finals, but I’m not going to jump there just yet.
Let’s first start with Christmas day, when the Cavs and Dubs are now locked into the primetime spot. Leading up to the game, we have a completely new type of petty war. This isn’t Russ completely ignoring the situation and dodging questions about how much he loathes KD. This is LeBron in all his calculated, petty, passive-aggressive, social networking glory doing things that will throw the Earth so far off its axis we are now looking at a new ice age. On the other side, Kyrie will probably say something dumb in more than one interview, which he has done on occasion (flat earth).
In this game, though, we will not have the on-court hysteria that will occur in the Finals. Defensive schemes aren’t messed up that much, the game goes on as usual, questions are avoided more post-game than LeBron and Kyrie will avoid each other during the game. The final score will be an absolute decimation in favor of the Cavaliers, though. The Warriors are still a bit sad about the trade, they are sad to see their loveable buddy Klay with “Cavaliers” on the front of his jersey. It affects their play and the Cavs steamroll handily to a twenty-point victory.
Now I will flash forward to game one of the Finals. This is where everything gets very, very exciting on court. LeBron is still going to steadily cover KD because he’s the only player on the planet even somewhat capable of that bear of a task. That puts JR on Kyrie, which is a definite advantage in favor of Kyrie. But hold me the fuck back for every time LeBron switches on to him thanks to the Warriors’ constantly moving offense. That is just something I want in my life.
Elsewhere on the court we see… WAIT WHAT?!? Holy fucking balls Klay Thompson is covering Finals Steph Curry. KLAY THOMPSON IS GUARDING STEPH CURRY!!
Consider that for a moment. Finals Steph Curry isn’t necessarily the supernova that Regular Season Steph Curry is to begin with, but now he has one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA on him. I will also point out that this is an excellent perimeter defender that knows the ins and outs of any version of Steph Curry’s game. I predict like 12 points per game from the superstar. On the other end, who in god’s name is going to cover Klay?
Ultimately, this all leads to LeBron holding another trophy and kissing another ring, which I will admit is something I want to see very badly.
But more than that it gives us something to talk about all season long that is about 8 billion times more fun than the KD/Russ thing was to talk about this past season.
Disclaimer: my buddy Max threw this idea at me (shouts out Stuhl, what’s good my man) when we were fairly intoxicated. I include this for two reasons. 1. I gotta give my man props. 2. if you aren’t as excited about this as drunk me is about this, I understand (but if you are not excited about this hypothetical at all then I do not understand at all).
Other Disclaimer: I know this doesn’t work and would never happen. Shut the fuck up and have some fun. Life is a fun thing and basketball is a fun thing. Have fun.