Full disclosure: We’re about to engage in some serious rumor mongering.
For a moment, let’s assume Kyrie Irving proves reporters right and signs with the Brooklyn Nets in a couple weeks. With Anthony Davis reportedly being traded to the Los Angels Lakers and not the Boston Celtics, the chances of Irving returning to Boston probably are zero.
If the mercurial point guard indeed goes to Brooklyn, what happens to star Nets guard D’Angelo Russell, who’s scheduled to become a restricted on June 30? And what about the Celtics, who suddenly will be in need of a guard to run the offense?
Well, some believe there’s a simple way to answer all these questions: flip Irving for Russell in a sign-and-trade. This idea gained traction over the weekend when a rumor claiming Russell has interest in Boston began making the rounds. There’s also been talk that Russell wants out if the Nets sign Irving.
(You can click here for a useful breakdown of this situation, as well as how Kevin Durant fits in, courtesy of CelticsWire.)
This is a nice thought, but it’s borderline lunacy.
There are many reasons why a sign-and-trade makes no sense, but let’s highlight these four:
1. Why would the Nets help the Celtics (again)?
2. The notion that Irving would make more money in Brooklyn by first signing with Boston is false.
3. The Nets would handicap themselves by executing a sign-and-trade, whereas there would be no salary cap ramifications if they renounced their rights on Russell.
4. Unless Durant comes on board, why would Brooklyn part with Russell, one of the best young guards in the NBA?
Confused? Check out these tweets from NBA insider Steve Kyler:
Translation: A sign-and-trade isn’t happening. The best chance the Celtics have to land Russell, if they even want him, is to sign the 23-year-old if and when Brooklyn renounces his rights.
All that being said, the thought of Russell in a Celtics uniform is a tantalizing one, especially if Danny Ainge also is able to swing a deal for Houston Rockets star Clint Capela.
Check out this hypothetical lineup:
No, it’s not Irving, Davis and Hayward, but it’s a formidable starting five nevertheless. It might even be good enough to win the Eastern Conference.
Of course, Terry Rozier and Al Horford also need to be mentioned here. While there’s a good chance neither player is in Boston next season, the possibility of both returning shouldn’t be discounted. The Celtics reportedly have talked about a new deal with Rozier, who’s set to become a restricted free agent, while Horford reportedly has a contract in mind that would lure him back to the C’s.
How this mind-numbing game of NBA musical chairs ends is anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for certain is the NBA has completely jumped the shark, and that this offseason — which is less than a week old — already is one of the weirdest in history.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images