On Friday, we learned star point guard Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hours later, we learned the Phoenix Suns could be part of a three-team deal involving Irving, but with the four-time All-Star ultimately being dealt to the New York Knicks.
But could the Suns really be the team to land Irving's services? ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe believes it could happen if the Suns are willing to deal point guard Eric Bledsoe and the No. 4 overall pick in last month's NBA Draft to Cleveland.
"Josh Jackson could be the swing piece after Phoenix and Cleveland indeed talked after the draft about a swap involving the No. 4 overall pick, but the Suns were thrilled Jackson landed there. If the Suns relent on Jackson, Cleveland and Phoenix might be able to work out a simple two-team deal," Lowe wrote Monday.
Later on Monday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst added fuel to that potential fire.
"Talking to some executives today, they think the team that could make the Cleveland Cavs the best offer for Kyrie Irving is the Phoenix Suns," Windhorst said. "They have a package they could offer with Eric Bledsoe and possibly this guy they just drafted, Josh Jackson. Would they be willing to include that prized young player in a package for Kyrie Irving? It's unclear at this point."
Many experts believe Jackson was the top NBA prospect in the entire 2017 draft. The 6-foot-8 small forward was an All-NBA Summer League First Team selection for the Suns after averaging 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds in five games.
Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, who reported the possible three-team deal Friday, is skeptical the Suns would offer Jackson for Irving. Schultz believes it's more likely the Suns, Cavs and Knicks would agree to a deal in which Bledsoe, Suns center Tyson Chandler and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony landed in Cleveland, while Cavs forward Kevin Love and Knicks first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina go to Phoenix.
(Draft picks also involved)
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 22, 2017
Lowe, however, is skeptical the Suns would be interested in the three-team trade that didn't include Irving coming to the Valley.
"Perhaps Frank Ntilikina and an unprotected Knicks pick would be enough. But the Suns presumably would like to have at least one or two rotations players of drinking age," Lowe wrote.
On Friday, ESPN's Kevin Pelton suggested a Cavs-Suns deal that does not involve Jackson could make sense for both parties. In Pelton's scenario, Irving and shooting guard Iman Shumpert would be dealt to Phoenix in exchange for Bledsoe and small forward T.J. Warren. Pelton noted such a trade would save the Cavs nearly $60 million heading into next season.