Another dramatic day in the NBA, can’t say that anyone is surprised. With the 2023 NBA trade deadline approaching in under a week, a superstar caused shockwaves. Brooklyn Nets guard, Kyrie Irving, requested a trade the morning of Friday morning after he and the team could not agree to an extension. Irving was named a starter for the 2023 All-Star game. He also has had one of the best stretches of basketball of his career. Irving is pursuing a new team. But should the Clippers pursue Kyrie Irving?
Should the Clippers Pursue Kyrie Irving?
The Clippers’ hole at the point guard position is well documented. Ever since Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined the team, it was the position everyone talked about. This season, the conversation also included their void at the backup center. With the acquisition of former All-Star, John Wall, it seemed like the void was filled. But Wall’s fit with the team is not exactly going to plan. He had moments of brilliance when he pushed the pace in transition, finding open teammates or finishing himself. But at times he is out of control and throws the ball away or puts up a tough shot. Additionally, his jump shot has not been ideal. Shooting at only 40% from the field and 30% from three, he is no floor spacer.
Andrew Greif of the LA Times noted that the Clippers have been “proactive in seeking trade partners for Wall” and may even buy him out if none is found. It’s safe to say that the experiment may be coming to an end.
As for Reggie Jackson, coach Ty Lue sees him more as a combo guard than a lead. Even more so, Jackson’s play has been up and down all season. He was recently relegated to the backup point guard position, with George running the team in the first unit. So Jackson’s fit as the starting point guard does not seem sturdy enough for the team to get behind.
Bring in Irving. A soon-to-be 8-time All-Star, NBA champion, and one of the most skilled players to ever lace it up. His fit with the team would not be too clunky, given he can play off the ball in catch-and-shoot situations. He can also get downhill, finish around the rim with either hand and score at all three levels. He brings championship experience that he shared with Lue in 2016. During the Clippers’ 106-105 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, it was blatantly obvious that their clutch offense needs work. Now, Irving will also isolate himself like Leonard and George, but he is a gamer and will not dodge the moment. Plus, giving the team another option to give the ball to late in the game can open up for the other two stars.
Additionally, the acquisition of Irving will give the Clippers two point guards between him and Jackson. Thus relieving George of the duty that he is not normally accustomed to. They can even let George run the one in the second unit for a brief period to keep him in rhythm and get the ball in his hands.
To acquire Irving, a first-round pick (or two) is likely needed. But given his absences during the season for the past few years, his price may be lower than ever. So who knows, a singular pick and a second-rounder could work. As for matching salaries, the combination of Wall, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, and Brandon Boston works. If the Nets want Terance Mann, then he can be added to this mix as well.
Will the Clippers trade for Irving? It seems unlikely. But they have the package of some decently young talent and win-now players that can help them for Kevin Durant’s time there. Obviously, the Los Angeles Lakers will have something to say about this, but everything is in the air right now. And the Clippers should find a way to get in on the action to help bolster their championship hopes.