With the trade deadline coming up, some interesting deals are being thrown in the air. Interesting often means it’s not going to happen, despite the interesting fantasy value. One such trade that’s being talked about is Chris Paul for Kyrie Irving between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While the salaries might match and both players are star point guards, the similarities end there. Paul, for all of his flaws and his annoying behavior on the floor, usually summing up in complaining at every possible opportunity and sometimes melting down in crunch, is going to end up being in the hall of fame, and over the last 10 years has often been the best point guard in the NBA.
Irving? He’s a better scorer and outside shooter than Paul, but in no way does it help the Clippers, whose needs are very different than this type of exchange fills for them. The Cavaliers? Obviously they would be happy with Paul for Irving. They don’t lose too much of the offensive abilities while getting someone who is a much better and willing facilitator. Still, I’m not sure that’s what they need in order to beat the Warriors, if that’s the whole thinking behind this.
There are more reasons for this not to happen. Paul is in his 11th NBA season, and will be turning 31 in May. Irving is only turning 24 in two months. The Cavaliers might be all-in on LeBron James right now, but his prime is coming to an end at some point. He’s on the decline, and maybe no one is willing to admit it, but by playing a type of basketball that’s focused on him being the epicenter of everything isn’t going to win a championship anymore. Not with the Warriors around, or the San Antonio Spurs.
And the Clippers, who some think need to blow it up, wouldn’t be getting a point guard to build the franchise around for years. Irving, from what we’ve seen since he entered the NBA, when he’s healthy at least, isn’t the type of guy who is going to win a championship while he’s the number one offensive option. He’s just not that good. And blowing it up for the Clippers, which probably isn’t an option from within the organization despite how this season is going, the failures of Doc Rivers as a general manager and Blake Griffin making things worse with his assault on the equipment manager which might sideline him for the rest of the season.
The Cavaliers might not need a change in terms of bringing in someone. We’re only a few games into the Tyronn Lue project of playing different, faster basketball, but maybe that’s the transformation they need in order to match up with the Warriors and besides, what trade can they do to make them close to that level, unless they’re thinking a purely defensive one? The Clippers need a change, but are probably going to ride this roster out until these playoffs at least, and then decide whether it’s impossible or not to win with the current group of players, led by Paul.