Kyrie Irving wants out of Brooklyn, and another loyal fan base has been lost. Nets fans, welcome to the world of Cavs and Celtics fans.
Let’s just say the guy has tremendous handles, crazy hoops skills, and an IQ that is off the charts. But he sure knows how to stir the pot when he wants to, eh?
So where to? And that is where it gets interesting from a wagering perspective. When a talent like that comes onto the market, half of the NBA becomes interested. And with only four days left until the NBA trade deadline, we are about to see one heck of a hectic week.
Some books are making the Miami Heat the favorite, mostly because forward Duncan Robinson and guard Kyle Lowry can be had, and that deal would give the Nets a point guard with experience and yet another 3-point shooter to complement Kevin Durant, Seth Curry, and Joe Harris (if the latter two remain). The Heat, by the way, are +4000 to win the title.
But the Lakers have to be in play, too, because a pairing of three superstars has been a tried and true formula in winning NBA championships. Put Kyrie with forward LeBron James and center Anthony Davis, and you will not see the Lakers championship odds where they are today (+3000). Guard Russell Westbrook and at least one first-round pick would have to be included.
And then we have the Dallas Mavericks, who need a consistent second scorer alongside Luka Dončić. Power forward Dorian Finney-Smith is available, and guard Spencer Dinwiddie would fill the hole at point guard in the BK. The Mavs are +3500 to win the title.
So we are listing those teams as the easiest potential destinations for Irving. But there are others who will be in the mix. When a guy like Kyrie is on the market, only two teams can be counted out: Cleveland and Boston, where Irving has burned his bridges.
ESPN Sources: Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has not shared a list of preferred teams, but he has maintained an interest in the Lakers. LA is expected to be among the teams that’ll explore a possible trade with the Nets.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 3, 2023
Irving is, how shall we say, mercurial. He won a championship in Cleveland with a last-second shot in the deciding game, then moved to Boston, where he infuriated the fan base by changing his mind as often as Dr. Fauci changed the COVID rules. One of those two guys remains relevant, and it ain’t the elderly doctor. Irving was actually beloved in certain parts of New York because he refused to comply with vaccine mandates, a stance that was eventually held to be constitutional because humans, not governments, get to decide what goes into their bodies. Legions of unionized municipal workers in New York eventually regained their jobs as a result.
So the guys is principled, and when he requests a trade there is a reason behind it that we will come to learn over the course of the upcoming week.
The NBA dominated the sport dialogue in the second week of February because NFL football is dormant, baseball’s spring training has not yet begun, and the trade deadline makes basketball website traffic go through the roof.
In the gambling world, it is a matter of trying to ascertain which teams make sense, and then wager away. We can pretty much forget about the Nets winning their division, because they sit five games behind Boston and would lose the tiebreaker to the Celtics. But the Sixers? They are just 2 games back and have odds of +600 to win the Atlantic. They have won 14 of 17, Joel Embiid is climbing up the MVP charts and they have three games left against Boston, which has lost four of six. At +900 to win the division, that is not the worst wager idea in the history of ideas.
8th straight road win.
Game Highlights vs. Spurs | 02.03.23
presented by @cryptocom pic.twitter.com/CdbS7SNNWD
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 4, 2023
What If Irving Gets Traded to the West?
The Lakers are sitting at +3000 and the Mavs are at +3500, and an Irving acquisition would lower those numbers instantaneously. And let’s not forget the Phoenix Suns, who have been trying to move forward Jae Crowder all season and could package him with guards Landry Shamet and Dario Šarić i to make the deal work, cap-wise, throwing in one or more first-round picks. They do not owe any picks to anyone, and new owner Mat Ishbia wants to make a splash. Phoenix is +2000, and let’s face it: The West is wide-open with just three games separating the fourth and 13th place teams.
Bottom line: Irving will be in demand, and he picked the right time to make this trade request.
On the final season of the Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets blockbuster soap opera…Turn down extension, request trade, happily return, request extension, request trade… in that order.
Y’all confused? Because I sure and the hell am! Carry on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) February 3, 2023
Because the West is so jumbled, we have to think outside the box and take a look at a few teams that do not fit the big market mold of Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. Irving is on an expiring contract, but he also wants to be beloved. So if he got traded to a small market, he would have that chance. Small markets love it when big-time superstars come aboard.
A few ideas:
The Sacramento Kings are +6000 to win the West and are sitting in fourth place in the West. The have a point center in Domantas Sabonis who would be in the MVP conversation if he were not playing in Sacto, along with an emerging star in point guard De’Aaron Fox. A trade of Irving for Richaun Holmes, Malik Monk, Kevin Huerter and at least one unprotected first-round pick works cap wise, and if you like it you can pounce on the Kings at +2200 to win the West.
The New Orleans Pelicans have lost 10 straight games while they await the return of Zion Williamson, and they have the Lakers’ first-round pick. If you were Pels GM David Griffin, would you surrender a boatload of some of the six picks owed by the Lakers and Bucks along with Trey Murphy, Willy Hernangomez, Dyson Daniels, Jaxson Hayes and Devonte Graham for Irving? The players ain’t all that much, but the picks restock the cupboard that Sean Marks emptied when he acquired James Harden.
The Nets need two things: Peace and picks. Marks’ job over the upcoming week is to find the best package that fulfills that need. Your job as a gambler is to think like Marks and pounce on a team with long odds that has a realistic chance to get Irving. Yes, sports gambling is fun on trade deadline week.
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