(B/R) - Star point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to meet with the Phoenix Suns along with the Dallas Mavericks and possibly other teams when NBA free agency begins on June 30, league sources tell TNT/Bleacher Report. The Houston Rockets could seek a meeting as well, according to sources.
Meetings are expected to take place in Los Angeles, sources say.
The Suns are still being ultra-aggressive in trying to assemble top talent to play alongside their three stars in Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. New Suns governor Mat Ishbia and general manager James Jones are working tirelessly to construct a legitimate championship team.
It would be difficult for the Suns to add Irving due to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. If they acquired him via sign-and-trade, they would be hard-capped at the first salary-cap apron, which is currently projected to be $172 million. They also aren't expected to have access to the $12.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception or the $5 million taxpayer mid-level exception at the moment.
Just yesterday we heard that Kyrie was going to meet with other teams during free agency in what is clearly a simple leverage play to get Mark Cuban to fork over the deal that Kyrie wants. There's no shame in that game, literally every star free agent does it.
But…the Suns? I can't say that was a team I expected to hear. I know he has a history with KD and all that, I know they just traded away their starting point guard, and maybe putting this out there might lead Cuban to think that Kyrie might take less to join his buddy so he has to come over the top with more years/money.
You then figure OK, since the Suns basically have negative money available to bring in talent in free agency outside of vet min deals, the only way this happens is with a sign & trade. Well the only player who makes any sort of sense would have to be Deandre Ayton, someone who has been rumored in connection with the Mavs in the past. Add in the fact that we're now hearing the Mavs are going to get into the Andre Drummond business this summer, it's clear they are looking for a center.
When you lay it all out, it's hard to imagine this happens. Then again, it sure does seem like the new Suns owner Mat Ishbia doesn't give a shit about any sort of penalty, tax bill, or roster construction limitations. The guy is drunk with new owner power and is spending money at a clip that would make Steve Ballmer blush. Do you think he cares about being hard capped? I doubt he even knows what being hard capped means.
If the Suns are able to convince Kyrie to take a lesser deal, maybe like a 2+1 (at a discounted price as well) or something along those lines, maybe it's worth it to them if it means they get off Ayton's money? Not to mention I'm pretty sure if KD tells this team this is what he wants them to do, the new owner will listen.
Even still, this all just screams a leverage play in a classic free agency game of chicken with the Mavs. Again, it's a smart move from Kyrie's side because he and his camp knows they have Cuban by the shorthairs. Threaten a move like this which would be pretty bad news for the Mavs if they hope to contend might just be what forces Cuban to cave.
All I know is this is the EXACT type of drama I cannot wait for starting tomorrow. There's nothing like NBA free agency and you just know there's going to be moves that shock us all. Kyrie finding a way to ultimately go to the Suns would be the top of the list.