What to make of trade talk linking the Pistons, Kyrie Irving

On Monday, the Detroit Free Press’ Vince Ellis joined Jake Chapman’s podcast to discuss all things Detroit Pistons, spending a good portion of the visit on the team’s reported interest in Kyrie Irving.

Vince Ellis didn’t offer up “breaking” news when he shared that the Detroit Pistons are interested in Kyrie Irving. They’d be crazy not to be doing their due diligence after it leaked in late July that Irving, 25, had requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers sometime this summer.

But it’s the NBA, which never sleeps, and it’s early August—enough for Ellis to join Jake Chapman on his “Wired: The Pistons Podcast” to discuss the matter. The conversation spanned how serious this all was, what the Pistons have to offer up, other possible destinations and Irving’s merits as an NBA’s team frontman. If you are a Pistons’ junkie (and if you’re reading this you probably are), the podcast is well worth the listen in its entirety.

Ellis said that he doesn’t know much else besides what his article stated: “A person with knowledge of the Detroit Pistons’ front office told the Free Press recently that the organization is interested in the four-time NBA All-Star,” and that he was merely passing along some intel.

“Much ado about nothing,” Chapman labeled the talk at one point.

“Oh, no doubt,” Ellis responded without hesitation. “That was a slow Friday, ‘Hey, I got a little intel, let me develop a column on it.’”

While Ellis and Chapman were throwing cold water on the Irving-to-Detroit possibility, Sam Amico fanned the flames a day later. Amico, an NBA insider for FOX Sports Ohio and the founder of AmicoHoops.net, dropped this nugget in his mailbag column on Tuesday:

How about this trade: The Cavaliers deal Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson to the Pistons for Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson? – Zahir Madyun

“Dear Zahir, the Cavs and Pistons have held some talks, and I have heard they did involve Jackson, but those didn’t get very far. I actually like your idea, but I doubt the Pistons are willing to part with Drummond or  Johnson just yet. But you never know. Word is, if the Cavs can’t get something done with the Suns, the Pistons will be among the teams they turn to next.”

Juicy! Amico, a well-connected columnist and broadcaster, uses the phrase “Word is,” suggesting that there is some sourcing behind this.

The Suns have been linked as an Irving landing spot because they’re stocked with youthful trade chips and Eric Bledsoe, a Klutch Sports client, the agency run by LeBron James’ agent (and close friend) Rich Paul. But I find it notable that Amico has heard Detroit could be one of the next in line if those two can’t work out a deal.

The Pistons aren’t the most asset-loaded team in the league by a long shot, and I find it hard to believe the title-contending Cavs are interested in packages that would presumably involve some combination of Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Stanley Johnson, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris or Luke Kennard. As Chapman notes in the podcast, any Pistons-Irving deal would likely involve a third team.

Despite the fact that Cleveland has the leverage here because Irving is under contract for the next two seasons, Amico later added in his mailbag column that he believes the 2011 No. 1 overall pick will be traded by training camp.

What can we glean from all of this? Chapman and Ellis would have us believe that the Pistons are but one of the 20-some teams inquiring on Irving. Yet, Amico’s reporting that Detroit is on some sort of shortlist the Cavs would be interested in working with after Phoenix gives it more legs. Regardless of how serious all of this is, I know it’s exciting.

Irving is a spectacular offensive player with far more “superstar” about him that anybody on Detroit’s roster. Who cares whether or not he can be the best player on a championship level team? We already know no current Piston can be that guy, so they might as well try hitching their wagon elsewhere. If Irving truly wants to be the focal point of his own team as the reporting suggests, Detroit’s as good a situation as any.

Much ado about nothing this may be, but I’m certainly entertaining the prospect of Irving to the Pistons with eyes open wider than they were last week.

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