Reports this weekend indicated that Cleveland was taking plenty of calls inquiring about the services of their young, restless guard. The former first-round pick is due for a new contract after next season and has told friends he does not want to remain with his current club.
With the departure of LeBron James still fresh in owner Dan Gilbert‘s mind, the Cavaliers are looking to get something in return for Irving rather than let him walk free of charge.
Meanwhile, the Nets’ partnership with Williams seems to have failed, with the team posting mediocre seasons with Williams at the helm of the offense and reports surfacing Monday that Williams is unhappy in Brooklyn. Thus, the Nets should move the overrated point guard as soon as possible.
Given both these situations, Nets GM Billy King should be spending plenty of time on the phone with the Cavs. The Nets could offer Williams and forward Mirza Teletovic for Irving and forward Luol Deng (sign and trade), a veteran looking to end his career on a high note who could be another boon to the club.
Irving would complement the roster in every way that Williams does not. He plays like a “true” point guard, a player who looks to pass the ball and make the players around him better. Before being drafted first overall, scouts commonly compared him to a player like Chris Paul, another pass-first guard. Irving managed to equal Williams’ assist numbers in 2013-14, despite earning $10 million less and working with an offense that pales in comparison to what Williams works with.
He also has a competent and effective jump shot to help replace the scoring provided by Williams; he averaged 20 points a game last season and shot fairly efficiently, converting on 43 percent of his FG chances during the last season.
Critics may say that his stats with Cleveland indicate similar characteristics to those that have plagued Williams during his time with the Nets (namely his high scoring and low assist numbers). His time with Duke, however, showed his playmaking ability and floor vision, traits that will help him set the tables for a powerful offensive cast stockpiled efficient scorers like Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.
The Cavaliers will certainly have plenty of plenty of offers if their point guard is truly available, but the Nets should do their best to make sure that Irving plays his home games in Brooklyn next season.