The Miami Heat have emerged as the strong suitors for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who shocked the NBA world after he reportedly requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving apparently wanted to finally come out of LeBron James’ shadow and become the focal point of offense elsewhere. The Heat, on the other hand, are desperately looking for a bona fide star after missing out on marquee free agents this offseason.

Trade Request

Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that Irving’s camp had asked team owner Dan Gilbert to trade him after three straight stints in the NBA Finals with the Cavs.

The move reportedly blindsided LeBron James, who could also bolt out when his current contract expires next year. Irving’s trade request also put the Cavs’ title chances into question especially after coming up with a mediocre free agency haul this summer.

ESPN insiders Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin disclosed Irving’s desire to move was further triggered upon learning that the Cavaliers included him in a trade package for Paul George and Jimmy Butler, who were both sent to Western Conference teams.

Moreover, the 25-year-old star has grown tired of playing the role of Robin to LeBron’s Batman. He wants to play for a team where he is the clear-cut no.1 option.

Uncle Drew’s landing spots

Wojnarowski listed the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, the New York Knicks and Miami Heat as Irving’s preferred destinations. However, at this point, every NBA team has a shot at Irving once the Cavs make the move to deal their star point guard.

The Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are viewed as potential suitors for Irving because of their stash of draft picks and young players.

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The Boston Celtics have not popped out yet, but many NBA analysts believe general manager Danny Ainge could be tempted to kick the tires on an Irving trade.

Heat’s potential package for Irving and roadblock

In the end, Woj thinks the Heat have the best chance of landing Irving because they can simply use a combination of Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow to seal the deal. Dragic is earning almost the same base salary per year as Irving ($18M to 19M a year), while Winslow is still on his rookie deal.

Dragic and Winslow could provide the Cavs stability in their backcourt and wing positions, though both aren’t as elite a scorer as Irving.

However, a potential roadblock in the Heat-Cavs negotiation surrounding Irving is the animosity between the two clubs. Ever since the Cavs agreed to sign-and-trade LeBron James to Heat in 2010, these teams have not engaged in any transactions. On the other hand, Sun Sentinel writer Ira Winderman thinks the Heat and Cavs, setting aside their past grudges, can come up with a deal that benefits both teams.

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