The Phoenix Suns want Kyrie Irving and are reportedly offering the Cleveland Cavaliers a decent package to acquire him. But there is no way the current offer is enough, and the Suns will have to part with more to get a deal done.
Darren Wolfson claims the Suns are willing to send Eric Bledsoe, Dragan Bender and Miami’s first-round pick in 2018. That pick is top-seven protected, then unprotected in 2019. With the Heat not looking like a contender, that selection could wind up being very valuable. That said, the deal currently proposed by Phoenix isn’t going to get the Cavs to budge.
The Suns are apparently taking a hard stance against including Josh Jackson, who was the fourth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Jackson — who LeBron James loves — is a better player with a higher upside than Bender, and would also add help on the wing, which the Cavs desperately need.
Jackson, Bledsoe and Miami’s pick would get the deal done immediately. The Suns are obviously hesitant to part with Jackson, who is a tremendous young talent. But Bender has a long way to go before he’s a regular contributor at the NBA level and the Cavs have Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye and Jeff Green blocking his path to the court. The 19-year-old Croatian does have some upside, but he needs playing time in order to develop and the Cavs can’t offer that.
Basically, Cleveland has no need for a guy like Bender, but could use Jackson now. The Cavs still think they’re title contenders, so they’re unlikely to jump at the chance to bring on a long-term project at a position of strength.
The only realistic path to Irving winding up in Phoenix would see Jackson going to Cleveland. If the Suns aren’t willing to do that, they almost certainly won’t end up with Irving.