Did Bucks offer Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and first-round pick for Kyrie Irving?

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The Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder for Kyrie Irving. That seemed like a huge overpay in a vacuum – and maybe even worse in context.

The Timberwolves said they wouldn’t trade Andrew Wiggins. The Suns reportedly told Devin Booker and Josh Jackson they wouldn’t be dealt for Irving. The Knicks reportedly weren’t interested in swapping Kristaps Porzingis for Irving. The Nuggets were rumored to be unwilling to include Jamal Murray and Gary Harris in an Irving trade.

What was the Cavaliers’ next-best offer?

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:

Whether a team offered a trade or just discussed it can get lost in the fog of negotiations.

But dealing Irving for Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick would’ve made some sense for both sides.

Irving is a premier young talent. In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo would’ve mitigated Irving’s limited distributing skills while Irving would’ve added helpful ball-handling and isolation ability.

Middleton is the type of 3-and-D wing the Cavs must load up on to challenge the Warriors. Brogdon could’ve stepped in as a low-usage, spot-up point guard next to LeBron James. And an extra first-round pick is ammo Cleveland needed.

But the Cavaliers took a better offer from Boston, leaving a trail of conflicting reports.

During the process, the Cavs might have wanted the Suns to believe there was another viable offer on the table to prompt one from Phoenix. Whether or not that Bucks offer was ever actually made, that could explain why someone primarily covering the Suns leaked it.

That puts Milwaukee in damage-control mode, wanting Middleton and Brogdon to feel stable and valued. Again, that applies whether or not the players were actually offered for Irving.

Whether or not this offer was ever actually made, Cleveland accepted a better one from Boston.