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Around The League

Shootaround (July 25): LeBron James reportedly eager to say goodbye to Kyrie Irving

NBA.com Staff

Jul 25, 2017 8:41 AM ET

This morning's headlines:

James "eager" to say goodbye to Irving -- According to multiple reports, Derrick Rose has committed to sign a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He's the second point guard the Cavs will sign this summer (Jose Calderon was the first), at least in part because their current point guard has asked for a trade. And Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon doesn't mince words in regard to Kyrie Irving's future in Cleveland...

Derrick Rose and the Cavaliers agreed to a one-year deal for $2.1 million contract Monday after spending the day together, discussing how the team will return to the Finals without Kyrie Irving.

Rose, 28, the 2011 NBA MVP whose career has been hampered by knee injuries, is on his way to the Cavs looking for the first trip to the Finals after eight pro seasons. He's also looking at a potential starting spot in the same lineup with LeBron James, now that Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off.

Update: LeBron took to Twitter to deny this report on Tuesday morning:

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The challenge of trading Irving -- Of course, seeing Irving off is easier said than done. The man who hit the biggest shot in franchise history has put the Cavs in a tough spot with his trade request and Yahoo's Chris Mannix explores how difficult it might be for Cleveland to get a good deal for its point guard.

Irving wasn't willing to wait for James, for another "Decision," and now he alone has placed Cleveland in a bind. Irving is 25, an All-NBA talent, and under contract for two more seasons. He's the type of player you beg for, not one you look to trade away. The Cavaliers will be inundated with trade offers, if they aren't already, yet finding a trade partner with the assets needed to keep the NBA's second-best team in contention will be difficult.

"The price is going to be super high," a Western Conference team executive told The Vertical. "There is a lot riding on this for Cleveland. They might have to wait until Dec. 15 [when contracts of players signed this summer become tradable] to do any deal. It could be an awkward few months."

Irving reportedly handed Cleveland a preferred-team list – Minnesota, New York, Miami and San Antonio – but for the Cavaliers, that list is meaningless. Irving doesn't have a no-trade clause, and the two years he has left on his deal limit his leverage. He may want Miami, but Phoenix, with Eric Bledsoe (a Rich Paul client), Brandon Knight and a wealth of assets, could make a better offer. Irving may crave a union with Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, but Sacramento, with De'Aaron Fox and a collection of solid vets, could put together a sweeter deal.

The Cavaliers have no allegiance to Irving here, and would be foolish to show any.

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Jazz face the small-market question in wake of Hayward's departure -- Over the course of the last four years, the Utah Jazz built a 50-win team and one of the league's best defenses. And just when they ended a four-year playoff drought, they lost their best offensive player in free agency. Gordon Hayward is in Boston and the Jazz are left wondering if they're at a disadvantage when it comes to drawing star players. The Salt Lake Tribune's Aaron Falk explores the small-mark issue...

For their part, Jazz officials believe small-market troubles are more perception than reality when it comes to free agents.

"We had a lot of interest for the second year in a row. Quin [Snyder], Rudy [Gobert], our style of play and the culture of our team are driving that interest," said Jazz president Steve Starks, who pointed to forward Joe Johnson's decision to come to Utah as a free agent last summer. "I think that narrative (regarding small markets) is changing in favor of teams and cultures that win."

The league's collective bargaining agreement was designed to give teams advantages in retaining their players, by allowing them to offer longer and more lucrative deals. The Jazz were able to offer Hayward a five-year deal worth $172 million, when no other team could offer him more than four years and $128 million. Even a shorter deal from the Jazz would have netted Hayward more than signing with another suitor because Utah could have given him 8 percent raises versus the 5 percent annual raise he will receive in Boston.

But as contracts have skyrocketed in recent years, some players have been willing to take less to pick their own destination.

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Van Exel has gained coach's perspective -- Over his 13-year career, Nick Van Exel didn't have the best relationships with his coaches. Now, the 45 year old is a coach, entering his second season as an assistant under David Fizdale in Memphis after stints in Atlanta, Milwaukee and the G League. The USA Today Network's Logan Murdock goes long on Van Exel's life, his relationship with Fizdale and his new perspective...

While the life of a coach has its perks, Van Exel's presence in this profession seemed like an odd marriage considering his reputation on the hardwood.

During his basketball career, he frequently clashed with his coaches, often leading to heated arguments on the sidelines. Now 45 years old, he's become one.

His journey started at Texas Southern University. The first day on campus was rough, as the players began to remind Van Exel of the player he used to be, prompting him to reach back into his past to right his wrongs.

"I would call my ex-coaches and I’d apologize to them," said Van Exel.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: A Q & A with Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge about the addition of Gordon Hayward and the team's young talent ... Pau Gasol declined a $16 million player option last month, but isn't losing money with his new deal in San Antonio ... Lonzo Ball is selling tickets for the Lakers ... Patrick Patterson likes going to the movies and reviews some summer hits for the Oklahoman.


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