Anything can happen during the offseason, but, yeah, this would definitely be an unexpected move.
When discussing where Kyrie Irving will land on The Jump earlier this week — Boston Celtics or the field — ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne threw a complete curveball out there for one team. Surprisingly enough, Shelburne mentioned the Phoenix Suns as one of Irving’s best fits in free agency.
“I can just see a world in which he goes to the Phoenix Suns where that is such a great fit for him,” Shelburne said while also acknowledging the ownership situation with Robert Sarver. “So, maybe you reset things where the expectations are lower and you can have more of an impact on the culture.”
For Irving to end up playing alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to make up the Suns’ own Big 3, GM James Jones, a former teammate of the upcoming star free agent, would have to unload the contracts of Tyler Johnson, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson. There is also a route to achieve max cap space where Phoenix trades only one of Warren or Jackson, then stretch the final year of Johnson’s expiring contract ($6.4 million annually through the 2021-22 season).
First off, is this even realistic? It’s unlikely to say the least, but I guess anything is possible.
On the surface, if Irving is hellbent on leaving Boston, Phoenix would be competing for his services along with the Lakers, Knicks and Nets. What do those three teams have in common? Well, they are both located in the two biggest media capitals of the United States and he would be joining either LeBron James or most likely Kevin Durant at any destination.
That wouldn’t happen with the Suns. Irving would step in from Day 1 as the face of the franchise expected to lead this young, ascending group forward led by Booker and Ayton.
Another stunner, according to plugged-in local reporter John Gambadoro over at Arizona’s Sports Station, the Suns will indeed try to woo Irving if they can.
“I expect that the Suns will try for Kyrie Irving,” Gambadoro said of the Irving scuttlebutt from Shelburne on the Burns & Gambo show Wednesday. “I know the Suns will take a look at Kyrie.”
If the Suns are truly looking to take the next step and vault from laughingstock to legit playoff contender in short order, going the veteran route has to happen over selecting a rookie like Darius Garland or Coby White at No. 6 overall.
Irving waltzing into the Valley in a few months to reunite with Jones and lead a new era of Suns basketball forward would be stunning. The question is, can the Suns even get a meeting with Irving and his representatives in the first place?
I will say that the idea of Irving and Booker sharing a backcourt with Ayton dominating down low sounds like plenty of fun, though. Will Irving be the one who helps fulfill Booker’s wish of forming a superteam in Phoenix?
“I’d like to build a superteam,” Booker told Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill during the season. “I’d like the superteam to come to me. If that’s through free agency, people seeing what we have here with the big fella and myself and wanting to join in on that, to reach higher heights, then I’m with that.”