Milwaukee Bucks: Breaking down Kyrie Irving talk with Rohan Katti

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 27: Kyrie Irving /

There is some talk about the Milwaukee Bucks getting involved in a Kyrie Irving trade. Let’s talk about this.

Ti Windisch: So, even though Derrick Rose has been linked to a few teams out West in recent weeks, the Milwaukee Bucks Twitterverse has not been quiet. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Friday that Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kyrie apparently listed four teams he’d like to join. The Bucks were not one of them, although NBA Twitter being what it is there have been many hypothetical trades floated with Kyrie becoming a Buck, and now a third group has suggested Milwaukee could act as the third team in a deal sending Kyrie somewhere else.

To help sort through all of this, I’ve enlisted the help of the man, the myth, the legend: Rohan Katti.

TW: Hello Rohan, and welcome to the chaos. First off, what are the chances that Kyrie Irving is a Milwaukee Buck before the 2017-18 NBA season?

Rohan Katti: Hello, Ti! The NBA is always chaos, so I’m fully prepared to get into the madness.

To answer your question, I will say there is a 37.8 percent chance that Kyrie Irving is a Milwaukee Buck before October rolls around. As you previously stated, the Bucks were not on the list of four teams that Kyrie reportedly prefers (San Antonio, New York, Miami, and Minnesota).

However, given the circumstances, I do not believe Kyrie is in a position to say where he wants to go. Irving does not have a no-trade clause, and will not be a free agent during the summer of 2018, so the chances of him getting traded to a team outside his four are high. If Milwaukee wants to go and get a star player, they might be in a perfect spot to land Kyrie Irving.

TW: Oh this is unexpected. I guess I just assumed you would count the Bucks front office out of this one, since the franchise has been very quiet since inking Tony Snell to a reasonable deal and signing a pair of two-way contracts.

Let’s try to build this thing. I’m guessing the formula is very good player (Khris Middleton or Jabari Parker) + salary filler (Mirza Teletovic or John Henson) + draft pick(s). Are you feeling a potential trade would follow those parameters? Aside from the salary filler, that’s pretty close to what the Chicago Bulls got for Jimmy Butler.

RK: If this summer has shown us anything, it is that trading for a star has no real set market. It happens so infrequently, so teams can’t learn based on previous transactions. Take the trades that have already happened. Chris Paul got traded for good players and almost every non-guaranteed contract in the league. Jimmy Butler got traded for an injured late-lottery pick, an underperforming top-3 pick, and a 7th overall pick. Paul George got traded for a good young player that might have topped-out while also having a massive contract, and a solid player coming off his rookie season. Given, each of these stars have different circumstances, but there is still a lot of variability.

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If the Bucks were putting together a package for Kyrie Irving, I agree with you that it would be similar to the Jimmy Butler package. I think Milwaukee would be comfortable trading Parker or Middleton for Irving, but the Cavs would most likely want both. As long as Cleveland has LeBron James, they will be in contention for a title. Kyrie Irving has been a big part of their success, but if he is gone, the Cavs would need a player that would help tread water.

Since Parker will not be back until around the All-Star break, he would not be that player. Khris Middleton is a borderline All-Star in the Eastern Conference that, in theory, could be a perfect fit in the Cavaliers offense. However, new Cavs GM Koby Altman would want Jabari Parker as well because they were devoid of any young talent to prepare them for the post-LeBron age. Adding John Henson would be easy to say for the Bucks, and the Cavs could use as much front-court help as they can get.

In my mind, the decision on the Bucks’ end would be whether they can stomach losing both Parker and Middleton. If they decide yes, then Kyrie Irving has a high chance of being a Buck. If the Bucks can’t lose both, they are back to competing with the other 29 teams for Irving.

TW: That’s interesting stuff. I can’t decide how I feel about that trade. It’s easy to want to do Middleton for Kyrie and then include Jabari because it’s been so damn long since we’ve seen him play, but I looked back at his last season the other day and was a little stunned at just how good he is.

think you’re right about what Cleveland would want, but I also think it’s possible Milwaukee could substitute picks for one of the two. Maybe. Who knows, with NBA trades. I certainly think the Bucks won’t trade for Kyrie Irving, which, knowing the Bucks, means the trade between Cleveland and Milwaukee will be announced tomorrow.

I do feel, however, that the Bucks are more likely to trade for Kyrie than to be the third team involved. I just don’t see any way that makes sense. A team with cap space, or big contracts it would actually want to trade, seems like a more likely idea. Could you see Milwaukee playing facilitator?

RK: The Bucks as a facilitator does not make sense to me either. Usually, three team trades happen when one of the two main teams is missing salary, or has too much salary. The Danilo Gallinari sign-and-trade involved the Hawks because the Clippers would have too much incoming salary, so they needed to ship Jamal Crawford off to Atlanta.

The only way the Bucks would be involved as a third team was if the Cavaliers and another team were missing salary, and that does not happen in today’s NBA. A lot of teams are fighting to get under the luxury tax, so finding big contracts would not a problem between any two teams.

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TW: Precisely. Okay, let’s end this with hot takes that can be used against us when we’re wrong later. Is Milwaukee going to trade for Kyrie Irving?

I’m going to say no, just because Cleveland would rather get similar assets from Phoenix and send Kyrie far, far away from the Central Division–why deal him to the Bucks so he and Giannis can become the East’s best pairing? I just don’t see that happening, even if the Bucks do offer a whole lot in return.

RK: Is it a hot take to say Milwaukee is not going to trade for Kyrie Irving? If so, that is my hot take. If not, my hot take is that the Cavaliers will not end up trading Irving. If LeBron James actually leaves Cleveland after next season, the Cavaliers will need Irving more than ever before, and will most likely do anything to convince him to stay.

In reality, I do think Irving will get traded to the Spurs. This would disadvantage the Warriors, as they potentially would have to expend even more energy to get to the Finals. Also, the Cavaliers could possibly land LaMarcus Aldridge, who has reportedly out-welcomed his stay in San Antonio.

TW: I’ve consulted the hot take scientists, and they have determined it is not a hot take to say the Bucks will not trade for Kyrie Irving. Please accept my humble apologies, everyone.

This was fun Rohan, thanks for agreeing to do it! I’m sure our thoughts on this will go over swimmingly on the logical, reasonable venue that is NBA Twitter.

RK: I am sure that NBA Twitter will continue to be level-headed because of their proven track record. Thank you for having me, this was a lot of fun!

Next: How much more can Giannis improve?

Do you think the Bucks should pursue Kyrie Irving? Let us know in the comments below!