1. Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks
Love him or hate him, Kyrie Irving is undeniably the best player on this list and joins James Harden as one of the two premiere free agents available this offseason. Like the two players before him, Chicago would need to negotiate a sign-and-trade with Dallas if they wanted to add Irving to the core moving forward.
Although he’s been beleaguered with off-court issues for the past few seasons, Kyrie has looked like his dynamic old self again and should certainly be in the conversation for the NBA’s best point guard right now. Irving has averaged 27.2 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game this season, and will be an absolute game-changer for whichever team acquires his services in free agency.
Even if you don’t like the idea of Kyrie joining up with the Bulls, Irving’s presence in the free agency pool stands to benefit Chicago either way. So long as Irving remains unsigned, Chicago’s leverage in negotiations with other free agent point guards will remain stronger. If the sportsbooks are correct and Irving chooses to reunite with LeBron James in LA this summer, this will also force one of the other best available guards — D’Angelo Russell — to begin searching for a new home.
You can count me in with the group of doubters who would no doubt protest adding Irving if this hypothetical scenario picked up any significant traction. I believe Irving and LaVine simply have far too similar skill sets and would ultimately make for a redundant pairing. That being said, if the Bulls did wave their magic wand and sign Kyrie over the summer, I could also envision myself walking headfirst into the same trap so many other fanbases have fallen victim to by convincing myself things would somehow be different for Irving in Chicago.
I’ve always considered Kyrie Irving to be one of the most entertaining basketball players I’ve ever seen play the game. That being said, the fact Irving hasn’t actually played for and brought his off-court antics to Chicago has also significantly impacted my enjoyment of his game, so perhaps it’s better we keep it that way moving forward.