The San Antonio Spurs tried to acquire All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in the offseason before he was finally traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, quoting colleague Adrian Wojnarowski’s statement on SportsCenter, said that the Spurs “tried really, really hard to get” Irving, who asked the Cavaliers for a trade in July. The Spurs wanted to acquire Irving for him to carry the offensive load while Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker worked back from injuries. Coach Gregg Popovich also wanted to use Irving for the stretch run and playoffs.

However, the Spurs didn’t have the pieces to interest the Cavaliers to trade Irving to them.

Irving, a four-time All-Star, could have taken some of the scoring load off Leonard and could have provided the Spurs’ offense with another threat with his three-point shooting and ability to penetrate the lane. Last season, Irving averaged a career-best 25.2 points per game for the Cavaliers. This season, Irving is averaging 24.8 points a night for the Celtics. The Cavaliers shipped Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick. The Cavaliers also tried to arrange a three-team trade with the Phoenix Suns and Indiana Pacers.

The trade could have sent Eric Bledsoe and Paul George to the Cavaliers, but the plan never materialized.

Spurs fall to 76ers

Rookie Ben Simmons scored 26 points on 8-of-18 shooting, center Joel Embiid tallied a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, JJ Redick added 20 points and Dario Saric had 15 markers as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Spurs, 112-106, Wednesday.

With the win, the 76ers snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Spurs and improved to 18-19 on the season. Patty Mills scored 26 points off the bench, LaMarcus Aldridge recorded 24 points and 14 boards, Bryn Forbes scored 15, Kyle Anderson added 14 and Davis Bertans chipped in 13 for the Spurs, who dropped to 26-13.

Celtics cruise to easy win over Cavs

Terry Rozier scored 20 points off the bench as the Celtics relied on their balanced attack to cruise to an easy 102-88 win over the Cavaliers. Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum added 15 points apiece, Jaylen Brown had 14 and Irving contributed 11 as the Celtics improved to an East-best 31-10 mark.

The Cavaliers had a miserable shooting night, making just 31-of-89 attempts for 34.8 percent shooting. LeBron James led the way with 19 points, Kyle Korver had 15, and Jeff Green added 13, while JR Smith and Tristan Thompson chipped in 10 points each as the Cavaliers slipped to 25-13. Kevin Love, who is averaging 19.6 points per game this season, was limited to two points on 1-of-11 shooting.