The Cleveland Cavaliers are still looking for the right deal for Kyrie Irving. They’ve been in talks with teams, but nothing of their liking has come along just yet. With no imminent deals in place, this leaves the window open for other teams to enter the conversation for Irving. The Detroit Pistons have done exactly that. Detroit isn’t a destination mentioned by Kyrie Irving as one of the places he’d like to be traded, but it’s not really up to him where he goes. The Cavaliers will take their best offer. If their best offer is from the Pistons, the Cavaliers will send Kyrie to Detroit.
We don’t know how interested the Pistons really are in making a trade for Irving, but we know they’re at least considering their options. At this point, the Phoenix Suns look to be the most likely trade partner for the Cavaliers, but could the Pistons swoop in and offer the Cavs something better?
What Can Detroit Offer Cleveland?
Cleveland is looking for a veteran starter, a blue chip player still on their rookie contract, and a first round pick in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Can the Pistons put together a package that fits what the Cavaliers want? We can assume that the Pistons star player, Andre Drummond, is going to be off limits in any trade. The Pistons would want to get Kyrie to pair with Drummond. Detroit has future first round picks they could give up in a trade, but the question is whether they have other pieces that would interest the Cavs.
Guards Reggie Jackson and Avery Bradley are the most interesting veterans on this Pistons team. While neither of them are stars, both players are quality players who could make an impact. Here’s a look at their stats, and how they would fit with Cleveland.
Reggie Jackson: 14.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 41.9 FG%, 35.9 3PT%
Jackson had similar production in terms of assists, but he doesn’t come close in terms of scoring. I think Cleveland could get more scoring out of some of their other players, such as Kevin Love or J.R. Smith. They’ll have to with the loss of Kyrie. Jackson would give the Cavaliers another option at point guard. With Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon already on the roster, they’d be a lot better off in terms of depth than they were last season. I’d take any one of those guys over Deron Williams.
Avery Bradley: 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 46.3 FG%, 39.0 3PT%
Avery Bradley is a good defensive option for Cleveland. Cleveland needs to get better on the defensive side of the ball after ranking 22nd in defensive efficiency last season. Bradley’s 16.3 points proves he’s a very capable scoring option. Bradley would add to a shooting guard unit already consisting of J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver. J.R. Smith would likely be the starter, but Bradley would be a great option off the bench.
Another veteran that could be considered in this trade, is Tobias Harris. There’s no chance Harris would start for the Cavaliers, but he could provide depth as a power forward/small forward. He’s a capable scorer, averaging 13.8 points throughout his career. He shot 48.1% from the field and 34.7% from 3pt range last year, so he’s a pretty good shooter. He’s still only 24 years old, but he’s got six years of experience in the league.
None of these guys could match Kyrie Irving’s production when it comes to scoring, but they could add some much needed depth to a team that didn’t get much production from its bench a season ago.
Blue Chip Player on a Rookie Contract
There are two players on the Pistons who best fit the description of a blue chip player still on their rookie contract. Those two players are Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard.
Stanley Johnson: 4.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 35.3 FG%, 29.2 3PT%
Stanley Johnson’s stats don’t pop out at you in any way. They make him look like he’s not much of a contributor. He did take a step back in just about every stat category, but he also played about six less minutes per game in his second year. Johnson is mostly known for his defense. He’s a good defender who could help the Cavaliers improve their defense. He wouldn’t do much on the offensive side of the ball. He really needs to improve his shooting, especially from behind the 3pt line. Johnson did just score 86 points in an OVO game. If he could translate that offensive game into his NBA career, he’d be a steal for the Cavs. Unfortunately for Johnson, we haven’t seen anything close to that in the NBA yet. He’s only 21 years old, so he still has a lot of time to grow. One thing the Cavs need on their bench is youth. With players like Richard Jefferson (37), Deron Williams (33), Kyle Korver (36), and Channing Fyre (34) on the bench last season, they really need to get younger.
Luke Kennard: 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 49.0 FG%, 43.8 3PT% (College Stats)
Luke Kennard hasn’t played in an NBA game yet, so it’s hard to know exactly what the Cavaliers would be getting if he was part of this deal. One thing I feel confident enough to say about Kennard, is that he will be a 3pt shooting threat throughout his career. He shot 43.8% from 3pt range in his last season at Duke, and I don’t think he’ll have any trouble making the adjustment to shooting from NBA range. I see Kennard being a similar kind of player to J.J. Redick. Not the best on defense, but he will knock down more than his fair share of 3pt shots.
Good or Bad Trade?
If the Cavs trade for Reggie Jackson, they’ve got two solid point guard options. Avery Bradley would add much needed defense and reliable scoring. Tobias Harris could bring much needed big man depth. Stanley Johnson is a young, talented defender, and Luke Kennard is going to be a big time 3pt threat. In terms of star power, the Cavaliers would be losing a lot. When it comes to depth and bench production, they’d be getting better. This trade could fix a major problem the Cavaliers had last season. It would make the Cavaliers a more well rounded team.
Regardless of the trade the Cavaliers make, they’re still going to have the best player in the NBA on their team. We’ve seen LeBron win on teams with other star players, and teams with pretty much no names. Even though the Cavs would be losing a star in Kyrie Irving, I have no doubt they’d still be championship contenders.
For the Pistons, I think getting Kyrie Irving would be good for them. They’d have to give up some pieces, but they’d have two stars in Irving and Drummond who could help lead them to the playoffs. Detroit may not be the most attractive destination for some players, but it would allow Kyrie Irving to have a bigger role, which is what he wanted. If Kyrie stayed in Detroit long term, the Pistons could build their team into a championship contender in just a few years. I’m intrigued by the thought of this trade, as well as other possibilities. I’m excited to see how this Kyrie Irving trade situation plays out here in the near future.