Kyrie Irving: Hardwood Magician

BigSoxFan

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I don’t know if it was staged or not but we’re talking about a flat earth guy and a guy who rips former teammates on a burner Twitter account. Both Kyrie and KD are weird, incredibly over-sensitive dudes. I think it’s within the realm of possibility that they decided to mess with the media.

And I don’t really have any issue with that because I’d probably do the same. But the problem now is that the Celtics are a team that’s still trying to gel after 60 games so any distractions, whether real or fake, only hurts the main goal.

Kyrie has had a million chances to bury this story and hasn’t done it. That’s on him.
 

joe dokes

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Any guy will have the occasional poor shooting night, though.

Brian Robb had an interesting analysis of the last minute at Boston Sports Journal. He focused on a couple of things:
  • On the final possession, Stevens had Kyrie screen for Morris, who was the first option. Morris would have been wide open for a layup but for getting mugged as he came off Kyrie's screen, but the fucking zebras swallowed their whistles. Kyrie was option #2, missed the shot, but didn't have time for anything else. Horford was open from three but may nor have had enough time to get the shot off. (Morris blew his stack after the game ended, which is understandable givin that he would have had a wide open layup but for the obvious foul.)
Also mentioned in the Glob.
Stevens drew up a play in which Irving would set a back screen for Marcus Morris, ideally setting him up for the winning layup. The hope was that with so much obvious focus on Irving, this brief slice of misdirection would catch the Bucks off guard.

Irving appeared to nudge Middleton into Morris with his screen, and Middleton appeared to then hold Morris, potentially causing him to slip. But no fouls were called, and the option to go to Morris was gone.
 

djbayko

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They knew the camera was there, and in exaggerated manner said “two max contracts!” so people would see it and connect them to the Knicks. Most likely they were joking to make a point about/mock media coverage, but when you do that and intentionally rile up the media, you can’t get mad when they ask questions.

I understand his frustration with NBA culture and the media, and I’ve shared the same - there’s less drama on the court than off during any part of the damned season. But Kyrie is making a bad situation worse for himself then complaining/lashing out at people doing their job about it.
It’s been confirmed that he said “two max contracts”? Maybe I have to watch the video again.
 

JCizzle

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It’s been confirmed that he said “two max contracts”? Maybe I have to watch the video again.
I read that's just the transcript someone posted under the video and people ran with it. I don't think anyone knows what was said, it was just an easy mark because Kyrie had two fingers up and people bought it.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Lets be clear. Anyone who've characterizes the nature of Irving's conversation with Durant at the Allstar game and/or Irving's mindset during a given game is almost certainly engaging in pure speculation.

Alternatively, if someone does know what was discussed or what Kyrie is thinking at a given time, they are probably better off not commenting in this forum.
 

Kliq

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I 100% believe that Kyrie and Durant did the post-ASG thing to fuck with people, knowing that people would overreact to it and go nuts on social media. I'm not on board with all of his comments this season and agree that he has a weird personality, but anyone using that KD/Kyrie clip as evidence of anything is just playing into the hysteria that has taken over the NBA news cycle.
 

tbb345

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Any guy will have the occasional poor shooting night, though.

Brian Robb had an interesting analysis of the last minute at Boston Sports Journal. He focused on a couple of things:
  • Middleton open 3. Giannis was initially covered by Horford, but Morris switched onto him after a Lopez screen. Lopez went to the corner, but Horford opted to stay near the paint to provide help on Giannis. Giannis bobbles the ball (in part because of Horford's help) and bails himself out with a pass to Lopez. Morris is in no position to close out Lopez, so Tatum rotates off of his man (Brogdon) on the perimeter. The right read for Morris would be to close out Brogdon, but instead of reacting to Tatum leaving his man, he doesn't get going until Lopez has already made the pass to Brogdon. This left Smart, covering Middleton, with the choice between letting Brogdon (40% from three) have the open shot or leaving Middleton (37% from three), which he did, and got burned.
  • On the final possession, Stevens had Kyrie screen for Morris, who was the first option. Morris would have been wide open for a layup but for getting mugged as he came off Kyrie's screen, but the fucking zebras swallowed their whistles. Kyrie was option #2, missed the shot, but didn't have time for anything else. Horford was open from three but may nor have had enough time to get the shot off. (Morris blew his stack after the game ended, which is understandable givin that he would have had a wide open layup but for the obvious foul.)
I really love Robb's coverage. It seems like he has the pulse of the team and isn't afraid to criticize or point things out that haven't gone as well as expected.

Side note: In regards to the first bullet point, it looks like "all about the team and hustle" Marcus Morris once again didn't go all out in a key moment and it screwed the team. Something to keep in mind next time that Morris states to the media how much of a hustle and passion guy he is or he criticizes another teammate
 

Van Everyman

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I really love Robb's coverage. It seems like he has the pulse of the team and isn't afraid to criticize or point things out that haven't gone as well as expected.

Side note: In regards to the first bullet point, it looks like "all about the team and hustle" Marcus Morris once again didn't go all out in a key moment and it screwed the team. Something to keep in mind next time that Morris states to the media how much of a hustle and passion guy he is or he criticizes another teammate
I was actually surprised Robb said that next time they may not go to Morris during crunch time. I mean, yes, it appears he was the one who blew the rotation here but unless I’m misremembering Morris grades as a plus defender and is a Certified Lebron Killer.
 

joe dokes

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I really love Robb's coverage. It seems like he has the pulse of the team and isn't afraid to criticize or point things out that haven't gone as well as expected.

Side note: In regards to the first bullet point, it looks like "all about the team and hustle" Marcus Morris once again didn't go all out in a key moment and it screwed the team. Something to keep in mind next time that Morris states to the media how much of a hustle and passion guy he is or he criticizes another teammate

MM does seem to lose the play on defense in big moments.
 

Jimbodandy

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MM does seem to lose the play on defense in big moments.
There were a bunch of plays last night that Morris, Rozier, and Semi completely whiffed on rotation.

On other occasions, Brown and Tatum were slow to a couple, and Semi gave Brogdon way too much cushion 2-3 times. But the big whiffs from MM, TR, and Semi were glaring.

I think that Morris mans up just fine, but there was a decided lack of second and third efforts on defense at times last night from him and Rozier (Semi just brainfarted imo, since low reps). And it's pretty common.

If anything, Kyrie should be pointing the defense finger today. He was personally damn solid last night and made a few uncharacteristically dominant defensive plays.
 

chilidawg

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I was actually surprised Robb said that next time they may not go to Morris during crunch time. I mean, yes, it appears he was the one who blew the rotation here but unless I’m misremembering Morris grades as a plus defender and is a Certified Lebron Killer.
He has the Lebron killer reputation, but I'm not sure it's deserved. His DRPM is below average and has been for several years. It looked like the Bucks were running picks with Lopez to get Horford off GA and Morris on him.

Edit: Just actually looked it up, and he's 84th of 94 PF so far this year. So not even below average.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Whoopsie. Before we get too far into bitching about the refs, here's John Karalis on the L2M report:

The NBA “Last Two Minute” report was just released, and it says Morris was indeed held on the play. However, it was one of four uncalled fouls on the play. They were, in order:

  1. An offensive foul on Kyrie Irving for setting an illegal screen on Khris MIddleton
  2. A foul on Middleton for holding Morris
  3. A foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo on Irving’s drive
  4. Another foul on the drive on Eric Bledsoe
So the entire play, according to the NBA, should have been a turnover on Boston because of the illegal screen. After that, the play was riddled with fouls on Milwaukee.
 

DrewDawg

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It also says that there shouldn't have been a shot clock violation and that the tip by Lopez was a legal shot.
I don’t get this though. The shot clock isn’t reset on jump ball so I would have thought that once ball is touched on jump ball the shot clock starts as well as game clock.
 

tbb345

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I was actually surprised Robb said that next time they may not go to Morris during crunch time. I mean, yes, it appears he was the one who blew the rotation here but unless I’m misremembering Morris grades as a plus defender and is a Certified Lebron Killer.
I’m somewhat surprised that he wrote it but I 100% agree. Morris started off on fire but since then he’s regressed to the mean (albeit a better 3 point shooter) and is the players he’s always been.
He’s siruationally valuable because he can defend big physical wings but overall he shouldn’t be playing crunch time on this team.
He’s a black hole on offense and, as has been pointed out by Brian Robb, he’s awful at closing out on 3 point shooters. When you combine that with what seems to be a poor attitude, I don’t understand why Brad hasn’t adjusted yet. My only guess is what someone posited before, that Brad knows he’s potentially a locker room problem if benched so he doesn’t want to mess with already fragile chemistry.

I know that Kyrie catches a lot of flak for being tough to root for but to me Morris is the leader in that clubhouse and it’s not even close. At least, Kyrie is prodigiously talented and has won it all before. Marcus is a 4th or 5th option that thinks he’s a superstar. Not to mention a 29 year old who’s never won anything, been Moved before because of his attitude yet thinks hes qualified enough to comment about team unity and what itt takes to win it all. It’s maddening
 

mcpickl

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They knew the camera was there, and in exaggerated manner said “two max contracts!” so people would see it and connect them to the Knicks. Most likely they were joking to make a point about/mock media coverage, but when you do that and intentionally rile up the media, you can’t get mad when they ask questions.

I understand his frustration with NBA culture and the media, and I’ve shared the same - there’s less drama on the court than off during any part of the damned season. But Kyrie is making a bad situation worse for himself then complaining/lashing out at people doing their job about it.
You heard him say this? C'mon man.

Kyrie is right. The internet isn't real life.
 

Eddie Jurak

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OK, I've been pro-Kyrie all this time, but yesterday's loss made me snap. He's been dissatisfied with his minutes. Yesterday he got his 40 minutes, went 37-10, was one of those who mailed it in defensively, and helped to kill the late C's run with an ill-advised 3 after the Celtics cut their deficit to 8 early in the 4th.

I wonder if he's given up on the team and just wants to focus on his stats.

I wonder also if Danny's great rebuild is going to collapse because he bet on the wrong horse (Kyrie). Maybe next year we are going to be a capped out team without Kyrie or AD and with no more Brooklyn windfall.

I wonder if I am just overracting to yet another pathetic embarassing loss.
 

fairlee76

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OK, I've been pro-Kyrie all this time, but yesterday's loss made me snap. He's been dissatisfied with his minutes. Yesterday he got his 40 minutes, went 37-10, was one of those who mailed it in defensively, and helped to kill the late C's run with an ill-advised 3 after the Celtics cut their deficit to 8 early in the 4th.

I wonder if he's given up on the team and just wants to focus on his stats.

I wonder also if Danny's great rebuild is going to collapse because he bet on the wrong horse (Kyrie). Maybe next year we are going to be a capped out team without Kyrie or AD and with no more Brooklyn windfall.

I wonder if I am just overracting to yet another pathetic embarassing loss.
Hey, don't worry, Kyrie doesn't see anyone beating the Celtics in 7 games...even though the rest of us most certainly do.
 

bigq

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I don’t think the loss to the Bulls is on Kyrie. I only caught the 2nd half but it looked to me like he was consistently high energy putting in high effort. He was the best thing the Celtics had going and there was no one else in green and white that was really close. I think the loss was largely the result of the primarily small ball line up the Celtics stuck with for most of the game combined with poor bench play. The Bulls had a 49-32 rebounding advantage and shot 53% from the floor. Each time the Celtics tried to claw their way back in the 4th the Bulls seemed to be hitting high difficulty shots with a hand in their face.

Frankly I think the loss was on Brad. His lack of in game adjustments let the game get away as the bigger Bulls team ran away with it. It’s almost as if Stevens needs an Ernie Adams in his ear.
 

benhogan

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I think the loss was largely the result of the primarily small ball line up the Celtics stuck with for most of the game combined with poor bench play. The Bulls had a 49-32 rebounding advantage and shot 53% from the floor. Each time the Celtics tried to claw their way back in the 4th the Bulls seemed to be hitting high difficulty shots with a hand in their face. Frankly I think the loss was on Brad. His lack of in game adjustments let the game get away as the bigger Bulls team ran away with it. It’s almost as if Stevens needs an Ernie Adams in his ear.
Yep. We've heaped praise on Brad when they outperformed every year he's been here. He gets the hit here for this season, for all the reasons stated above.
He has misused the talent he has, put them in bad roles, and not created cohesive units on the floor.
Massive underperformance so far, it's not too late w/ a quarter of the season left. BUT if Brad continues to play these rotations we'll get bounced early.
 

bigq

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Theis only played 17 minutes. He looked decent when I saw him on the floor. In hindsight he could have played more minutes. TL and Yabu both DNP but to your point I don’t know that either would have made a difference or even if increased time for Theis would have. Celtics certainly missed Baynes last night.
 

benhogan

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It's a stretch to say that Time Lord would have made a difference, and the Celtics had no other bigs.
Why is Daniel Theis only playing 17mins?

Question: Is it a stretch to imagine that the Celtics defense would be better with TL playing instead of Rozier, when Robin Lopez or Felicio are on the floor?

When Rozier is paired with Kyrie you immediately put Ky in an unfavorable defensive match up. We saw Zach Levine exploit that numerous times.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Playing Rozier is bad, especially when he is on the floor with Kyrie. I don't think it necessarily follows from that that Theis needed to be on the floor more, as opposed to Smart, Tatum, Morris, Brown, Hayward.
 

benhogan

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Playing Rozier is bad, especially when he is on the floor with Kyrie. I don't think it necessarily follows from that that Theis needed to be on the floor more, as opposed to Smart, Tatum, Morris, Brown, Hayward.
Its good to see we agree that Rozier should be playing less now.

Daniel had a pretty good game against the Bulls last time, but let's disregard that.
The Celtics got killed on the boards last night. They got killed defensively. I have to believe Theis could have helped on defense/rebounding with more minutes (as he did in his brief 2nd half run w/out Rozier).

Baynes and Theis advanced off/def net rating handily lead the Celtics. After watching every game the last 2 seasons PLUS looking at the data, they clearly need to play more minutes. If you have any statistics that tells me the Celtics play worse with either Aron or Daniel on the floor lets see it.

https://stats.nba.com/players/advanced/?sort=TEAM_ABBREVIATION&dir=-1
 
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TripleOT

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The game turned in the first half of the second quarter. Felicio feasted in the paint. Once the Bulls got the lead, their two best players shot often, with great results. Rozier was horrible, and Hayward was relatively useless. Theis and Morris together to start the second quarter, IIRC, didn't work well.

I'd like to see Brad stretch out Tatum to more than 31 minutes a game. Tatum needs to be the first scoring option with the second unit. Also, Brown needs to play more than 26 minutes a game.

Maybe Kyrie is confident this team will steamroll when the playoffs start and the rotation tightens.
 

NomarsFool

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At this point, I don't understand why Rozier and Irving are ever playing together. In other words, Rozier should be playing no more than 48 - Irving's minutes. Between JB, Smart, and Tatum and Hayward, there should be a good rotation at the 2,3, and a little of the 4. The way Morris has been playing lately, you could make an argument to see more of Theis. Theis seems to move well without the ball, and I like seeing people pass to him for an easy dunk. Morris is an absolute black hole and just stops all the ball movement. The only thing he can do is try and create his own offense. That is not something I think this team needs, and is not really what their style of play should be.
 

DrewDawg

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Yahoo is reporting that the Clippers tried to get Irving at the trade deadline. The reported response was a "quick no".

Awesome to have this leak out in the postseason though.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-clippers-tried-to-acquire-kyrie-irving-at-trade-deadline-195350167.html

Given the competition, the Clippers should be looking for any advantage they can to try to lure Irving away. Making sure Irving knows they wanted to trade for him at the deadline is a good start.
And what does the Celtics telling them no pretty quickly mean?
 

lovegtm

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And what does the Celtics telling them no pretty quickly mean?
Shams chalks it up to the Celtics thinking the team is built for a title run, but my guess is that there was an explicit conversation with Ainge and Kyrie that went something like: "--Hey Kyrie, if we get AD, will you re-sign? --Yes. --OK."

Probably with about 20 unnecessary roundabout sentences in there, because Kyrie Irving does not do concise, but that would be the gist.
 

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If true, couldn’t be more delighted to hear this as I hope the C’s re-sign KI. The fact that the Jerry West-advised Clips wanted him is... reassuring.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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What would the Clippers give up to get Irving? I mean, even with his expiring contract, the only way the C's would consider this is if LAC made a Godfather offer and I am not sure they had the assets to trade for him. The idea of a trade really makes little sense for either side so that leads me to believe this was merely the Clippers feeling out whether Irving is serious about leaving or not.
 

lovegtm

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What would the Clippers give up to get Irving? I mean, even with his expiring contract, the only way the C's would consider this is if LAC made a Godfather offer and I am not sure they had the assets to trade for him. The idea of a trade really makes little sense for either side so that leads me to believe this was merely the Clippers feeling out whether Irving is serious about leaving or not.
Yeah, presumably they wanted to make sure to get in the game if Danny was feeling unconfident about signing him. It was a legitimate question pre-deadline, so it makes sense for them to do that due diligence. A package around SGA and protected picks would be a very competitive offer if Danny thought Kyrie was gone.
 

nighthob

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What would the Clippers give up to get Irving? I mean, even with his expiring contract, the only way the C's would consider this is if LAC made a Godfather offer and I am not sure they had the assets to trade for him. The idea of a trade really makes little sense for either side so that leads me to believe this was merely the Clippers feeling out whether Irving is serious about leaving or not.
Probably something along the lines of Gallinari to match the salaries, SGA, Shamet, and the Miami pick. I suppose how you value that depends on your view of Miami’s future.

Shamet’s a nice rotation player. Gilgeous-Alexander has real upside in the pace & space era (just due to his length, athleticism, and potential to be an asset in a switch everything defense). But neither are great pieces. If you believe that the Heat are in a downward spiral the draft pick could be nice, but as the Cadavaliers could tell you, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

However if the Clippers are determined to get in the game to pair up Irving and Durant, and the players are agreeable (which would be an absolutely hilarious trolling of LeBron and the LOL), then the deal will still be there in July (just due to the Clippers desire to not help their division rival).
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Probably something along the lines of Gallinari to match the salaries, SGA, Shamet, and the Miami pick. I suppose how you value that depends on your view of Miami’s future.

Shamet’s a nice rotation player. Gilgeous-Alexander has real upside in the pace & space era (just due to his length, athleticism, and potential to be an asset in a switch everything defense). But neither are great pieces. If you believe that the Heat are in a downward spiral the draft pick could be nice, but as the Cadavaliers could tell you, sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

However if the Clippers are determined to get in the game to pair up Irving and Durant, and the players are agreeable (which would be an absolutely hilarious trolling of LeBron and the LOL), then the deal will still be there in July (just due to the Clippers desire to not help their division rival).
Your package makes some sense though I wonder if they called on Irving before the Philly deal (thus no Shamet). I love SGA but he is a pretty light return for Irving during this past season (just given the context of the C's trying to compete into the playoffs). However, if it looks like Irving is leaving, this isn't a horrible deal. I want Lou Will too though that is irrational.

Regarding the Miami pick, I don't see the Heat doing much worse than they are now. They are run like the Spurs which means that Spo can make water from wine - they are probably a borderline playoff team going forward, especially if Orlando and Detroit fall back while the Hawks find their legs.
 

the moops

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Probably something along the lines of Gallinari to match the salaries, SGA, Shamet, and the Miami pick. I suppose how you value that depends on your view of Miami’s future.
LAC reached out before the Harris trade, so they wouldn't have had Shamet or the MIA pick. Im guessing the offer was centered around Harris and SGA
 

lovegtm

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LAC reached out before the Harris trade, so they wouldn't have had Shamet or the MIA pick. Im guessing the offer was centered around Harris and SGA
Definitely would have had SGA, but wouldn’t you keep Harris and have him be 3rd banana to Kyrie and the other guy you sign? I think they had ways to clear up room for that. (Having Lou and Montrezl on ludicrous contracts makes life nice.)
 

the moops

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Definitely would have had SGA, but wouldn’t you keep Harris and have him be 3rd banana to Kyrie and the other guy you sign? I think they had ways to clear up room for that. (Having Lou and Montrezl on ludicrous contracts makes life nice.)
Perhaps. With them trading Harris I do wonder if they didn't really want him though, and especially not wanting him in the future on a max deal
 

TripleOT

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They were feeling out the Celtics whether they thought KI would resign. If Ainge thought he was gone, why not get something for him, and the Clips get a jump on the rest of the competition for him in free agency by having him in early, where the $40 billionaire owner, credible coach, and Hollywood location could be to Kyrie's satisfaction.

If Ainge didn't think this team could win a title this seasons, and had even a 35% chance KI would leave as a FA with no compensation, he wold have dealt him for some assets. I would have taken a long look if SGA, LouWIll, Harrell, and a pick was offered for Kyrie.
 

nighthob

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Your package makes some sense though I wonder if they called on Irving before the Philly deal (thus no Shamet). I love SGA but he is a pretty light return for Irving during this past season (just given the context of the C's trying to compete into the playoffs). However, if it looks like Irving is leaving, this isn't a horrible deal. I want Lou Will too though that is irrational.

Regarding the Miami pick, I don't see the Heat doing much worse than they are now. They are run like the Spurs which means that Spo can make water from wine - they are probably a borderline playoff team going forward, especially if Orlando and Detroit fall back while the Hawks find their legs.
I agree completely with this. I see the Heat as a solid middle of the east team and as such the upside for the pick is late lottery. If Irving and Durant decide to team up in Clipperland, then it's a better than nothing return. And maybe SGA outperforms expectations (and I say this as a general fan of his game) and makes it an actually good return.

It would be a major coup in a sign & trade, but then to fit in two max deals the Clippers would have to lose Gallinari and it's easier to do that as part of signing your target player than to go through the Rube Goldberg machinations otherwise necessary.

LAC reached out before the Harris trade, so they wouldn't have had Shamet or the MIA pick. Im guessing the offer was centered around Harris and SGA
Given that Harris was a rental I doubt they bothered even making the offer. And wouldn't make sense as they would still need to lose Gallinari to team up Irving and Durant. So iof this is the case then it's almost certain that the story's BS and the "contact" amounted to this...

Jerry West: Would you consider trading us Kyrie?
Danny Ainge: LOL, no. What the heck do you guys have to offer?
Jerry West: OK, thanks, bye.
 

nighthob

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If Ainge didn't think this team could win a title this seasons, and had even a 35% chance KI would leave as a FA with no compensation, he wold have dealt him for some assets. I would have taken a long look if SGA, LouWIll, Harrell, and a pick was offered for Kyrie.
Except for the reality that the Clippers cap situation gives them, practically speaking, room for one max signing. If you're Ainge, you know that any offer now will still be there in July if Irving and Durant decide on LA (because the Clippers still need to lose Gallinari to make it happen and they're sure as shit not going to help out the competition). So there's no need to cash out quite yet, especially if you think there's a chance that Kyrie could lure Durant to Boston.
 

lovegtm

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Except for the reality that the Clippers cap situation gives them, practically speaking, room for one max signing. If you're Ainge, you know that any offer now will still be there in July if Irving and Durant decide on LA (because the Clippers still need to lose Gallinari to make it happen and they're sure as shit not going to help out the competition). So there's no need to cash out quite yet, especially if you think there's a chance that Kyrie could lure Durant to Boston.
In that case, don't the Clippers just trade Gallinari into one of the cap-space renting tankers for 1-2 low first-rounders, hold on to SGA, sign Kyrie, and laugh at Danny? This is exactly what GSW did when the Nuggets tried to play hardball with them on the Iguodala S&T: they sent Utah 2 low first rounders IIRC, got off a ton of money, and signed Iggy outright.

There's a lot less leverage with S&Ts than there is with other trades, and they never fetch as much. On a side note, this is a big reason why DeJesus's insistence that the Celtics would consider sending Tatum in an S&T for Durant was laughable (not picking on DeJesus--that was just always a Dubs fan wet pipe dream).

Edit: the Iggy situation was better than I remembered. GSW actually rubbed a bit of salt in the wound, making the final deal a 3-team trade in which the Nuggets got only a 2nd rounder, while Utah got two unprotected 1sts. The Nuggets apparently saw that they were boned, and had to take what they could get with their tail between their legs.
https://www.nba.com/jazz/news/jazz-acquires-biedrins-jefferson-rush-and-five-future-draft-picks-three-team-trade
 
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nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
7,554
There were no teams with $23 million in open space at the trade deadline. And the Clippers didn't unload him then (mostly because they literally didn't have the picks to trade until after the Philadelphia deal). So, sure, they could spend the early days of July that the competition (read, New York) are using to aggressively court Irving and Durant, begging bottom feeders to take Gallinari off their hands.

Or, you know, they could just deal their backup PG of the future and a middle first to the team that Kyrie plays for to land Irving in a sign & trade and sign Durant outright. Because between Williams, Harrell, Zubac, Shamet, et al, they already have a pretty good surrounding cast of roleplayers for their stars.

(I think I made clear I don't think that SGA/mid first is some great return. I like Gilgeous-Alexander, and think he'll be a top 10 PG one day, but I think he rates out as good starter that might make an all star game or two over the course of his career.)