Just when it seems that the NBA had settled into a stasis of off-season hibernation, the Cavs imploded. As reported by ESPN, Kyrie Irving is looking to relocate. Also saying he no longer want’s to play with Lebron James.
While this news shocked most of the sports world today, the Cavaliers and James have known for over a week. This revelation was only tipped by the news that Irving even considered asking to be moved after their championship season.
Entering his seventh season with the Cavs Irving’s star has grown exponentially to those outside looking in. However, Irving himself has not felt the same stardom partnered with James and effectively living in his shadow.
Just gonna leave this here … Cavs with Kyrie Irving ON, LeBron James OFF last season: -120 in 635 minutes.
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) July 21, 2017
Many will accuse him of selfishness or stupidity but I am here to tell you to understand his predicament. At 25 he is just entering his prime and legitimately a top-3 point guard right now. When he signed his extension he had no idea he was going to be playing with James. Because of this, the shine of Irving’s abilities will have an inconsequential sense to them.
Although that’s what happens when the best player on the planet joins your team right? Irving should just suck it up and play even if he thinks he’ll never amount to his potential and may live the rest of his life not knowing what he was fully capable of because winning a championship and that’s all that really matters…right?
First and foremost, Irving needs to follow what is best for him. Not only in a basketball sense but for his state of mind and well being. Irving has always been an eccentric individual who has proposed that the world may be flat simply for people to question their reality.
He’s an individual and has expressed as much in the past few seasons. Discussing how changing his play to fit with James has been a challenge for him physically and mentally.
While the discussion around playing with James is generally that his talents make playing easier for other players, specifically role players and shooters, that has not proven to be true for his surrounding stars.
Analyst have tried to compare Dwayne Wade after James left Miami to what Kyrie will look like when he leaves Cleveland except Wade was in his 30’s when James left. Irving has so much more to show than Wade did by James’s departure. That being said Kyrie isn’t going to let himself be left at the altar like Wade and Chris Bosh in 2014. With James likely to leave Cleveland next summer he isn’t waiting around to see what James does next. Trying to have some say in his immediate future will be tough as the Cavs don’t have to trade him. He also has no discernable leverage over the team to control where he is traded to.
Irving could just as easily play out the whole season with the Cavs as they could trade him opening night for Carmelo Anthony. Either way, Irving, and James are not responsible for this break up any more than the management and disarray of the Cavaliers front office.
Kyrie is said to have had a good relationship with former GM David Griffin, and it isn’t surprising that after being let go Irving can no longer stand the situation. If the rumors of LeBron’s imminent departure are true, Irving would have the most to lose. While a good team, the roster of the Cavs is molded around James. Not only in his image but his age range. With most of the role players on the roster approaching their 30’s or already knee deep.
The Cavs just signed Kyle Korver to a questionably long and pricey contract for an aging shooter that can no longer defend. J.R Smith and Iman Shumpert will be on the books for a few more years at big expenses. Not to mention Tristan Thompson, whose contract may be unmovable, still has another three years on his deal may not be the best option at the five for Kyrie.
With all their money problems, the Cavaliers have stripped themselves of many of the future assets. Trading away future picks to win titles now. Well, win-now has come and gone, and this appears to be the end for the eastern Conference title contender if the trade doesn’t break them up this tumultuous summer will. Don’t forget the Cavs nearly traded Kevin Love 20 or so times to get Paul George. However here we are, and Love is still on the team that’s been trying to trade him almost since they traded for him.