The Clippers still have some rooting interest in these NBA Playoffs. Doc Rivers should be keeping the eye on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have dropped two consecutive games to the Toronto Raptors and the series is tied at 2-2. Why is it important for the Clipper brass to monitor the Cavs? Simple answer: Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs will probably manage to get by the Raptors. However, they will be the underdogs in the Finals should they get there. Last year, LeBron James attempted to single-handedly win the championship with a group of unknown reserves such as Matthew Dellavedova, because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were out due to injuries.
This year they have no excuses not to win it all. If they fail to bring Cleveland a championship, changes will undoubtedly be made. James isn’t going anywhere, unless he does the unforeseeable and opts out. He won’t do that without bringing Cleveland the title. The change will have to come in the form of a trade. The two prime candidates are Love and Irving, with Irving offering the most return value. So here is how the Clippers come into this equation.
There was a report this past trade deadline that an Irving for Chris Paul trade idea was floated. This would be just the trade for both teams to change the look of their team. As constructed, the Clippers have failed to progress in the playoffs. Fact is they won’t win a title with the trio Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Paul. They had three chances the past few years, and failed.
It’s championship or bust for the Cavs. They didn’t bring in James to win the East. A trade of Paul for Irving makes sense for both teams. Just try it on the ESPN Trade Machine. The Cavs would have to add a minimum-salary player to make it work.
Irving would give the Clippers that young dynamic scorer they have been lacking. He’s only 24. The Clippers would be setting themselves up for a long run with the core of Irving, Griffin, and Jordan. Granted, there have been some injury concerns with Irving in recent years, but at 24 you’d hope he still has a long career ahead of him.
For the Cavs, pairing the experienced and pass-happy point guard in Paul with James would work well. They are very close friends off the court, also. James would have no objections with Paul on the team. There has been some reported friction between James and Irving this season.
Paul is actually a better on-court fit for the Cavs. His leadership qualities are unparalleled, Charles Barkley would agree. Chris Paul doesn’t need to take shots to be effective, he’d gladly defer to James. Having Paul on the team would make Kevin Love better. He’d be the second option, and the amounts of pick-and-roll buckets Love could get would elevate him to where he once was prior to his arrival in Cleveland.
If the Cavs falter again, both teams should make this happen. Not often do trades happen that end up being a win-win for both teams, this is one of those rare no-brainer ones that both teams should consider. That might be the only way they both get a championship.