I am sure we have all heard by now that Cavaliers Point Guard Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland and wants a fresh start somewhere else.
The story was leaked by ESPNs Brian Windhorst.
The request came last week and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving has said that he wants to play in a situation where he can be more of a focal point and that he no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, sources said.
Among several possibilities discussed in Irving’s meeting with the Cavaliers, the San Antonio Spurs were raised as a preferred destination, league sources told ESPN. Irving said he’d also be willing to join the New York Knicks, Miami Heatand Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources said.”
I needed a few days to cool off because I received the news on Friday afternoon and I was heated. It didn’t make any sense to me that Kyrie Irving who was just a year removed from winning an NBA title and was a month removed from helping get his team to a 3rd strait NBA finals.
On Sunday morning ESPN released a story by Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst. The question was answered why does Irving want to leave Cleveland?
“Irving was tired of being Robin to James’ Batman. Tired of having another superstar — even one of the best players of all time — in control of his fate. Yes, he had learned from James in the three seasons they’d played together. Yes, he was appreciative. But Irving felt the time had come to take his destiny into his own hands. He wanted to be the centerpiece of a team, as he thought he was going to be three years ago, when he signed a five-year extension 11 days before James decided to come home.”
Irving wants power he wants to be THE guy, which could be understandable. Irving like I said hit the game winning shot in last years finals, and he averaged just under 30 ppg in this past finals.
A lot of people think Kyrie is right for asking for a trade. Some say he is just doing what Lebron has done to Cleveland and Miami. My argument to that is Lebron has never asked for a trade, he was waited till he is a free agent.
But, back to the question. Can Kyrie Irving be who he thinks he is? Can he be the centerpiece of a franchise?
My answer is No.
Kyrie Irving is a top 10 offensive player in the NBA, in terms of being a smaller guy (by NBA standards) he may be the best finisher at the rim ever. Watching him finish at the rim is a true art when you watch how he is able to adjust his body in mid air. The problem is Irving is absolutely atrocious on defense and doesn’t seem to be the guy who makes other players around him better.
Irving finished the 2016-17 season with a Offense Real Plus and Minus of +4.35, which is very good. His Defensive Real Plus and Minus was an abysmal -2.30. I admit that not all players play stellar defense on a night to night basis but Irvings defense has been criticized since he came into the league.
Irving seems to be the guy who would go to a lesser team in the Eastern Conference and average close to 30 ppg and his team floating around below .500 and most likely getting bounced in the first round.
ESPN Cleveland tweeted out a quote from Windhorst from an interview with their local affiliate.
Windhorst: Kyrie sees himself as a Kobe type player but there are certain people that believe he is more like a Stephon Marbury type player
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) July 24, 2017
After last years game 7 Irving face timed Kobe and has made several references to Kobes “Mamba Mentality”. Which I still don’t know what that means. I am guessing it means take a bunch of inefficient shots, be tough to play with, and on your way out act like you liked everyone as everyone pats your back.
I think this is a huge risk for Irving, leaving the games biggest star of the past 10 years. Cleveland with all the off season drama is still in the best position to win it all if Golden State suffers a major injury. From the sounds of it Irving would rather go to a lesser team and put up big numbers then try to stick it out one more year with Lebron.
In the same article from Sunday morning it is noted that Irving is jealous of Damian Lillard and John Wall. Which is funny because you would think the two would be jealous of Irving. Neither have made it past the second round of the playoffs and Irving has played in three straight Finals.
Another thing that makes this funny. Irvings image has grown since Lebron has came back to Cleveland. Irvings shoe finished second in sales behind Lebrons shoe, not to mention Irvings famous Uncle Drew Pepsi commercials which are going to be turned into a movie, and Kyrie lead the team in shots this year.
Irving says he wants to be the guy but he requested to go to San Antonio who already has Kawhi Leonard, and Minnesota who already has Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler. He requested Miami who has former teammate Dion Waiters who did not seem to mesh when both were in Cleveland. Irving even said he wants to go to the Knicks which you could argue to be the most dysfunctional franchise in sports.
I can understand egos take part in pro sports, you can hate it all you want but its there. Irving seems to be contradicting himself saying he wants to be THE guy even though he has endorsements that other stars don’t have, he wants to be the main guy in the offense but gets more shots than anyone.
Not to mention if Lebron were to stay, Lebron is getting older and doesn’t want as much as the workload. Irving could theoretically be THE guy like he wants getting more shots and more attention.
People who are applauding Irving seem to be doing it because Irving seems to be sticking it to James. They aren’t thinking about how good do you think he really is. If Irving wants to have power he has to have the talent to back it up, he has to be so good teams will do anything to get him on their team.
The Suns reportedly won’t even give the Cavs first round pick Josh Jackson paired with Eric Bledsoe to get Irving. The only way the Knicks would get Irving is giving up Porzingis. If I am the Knicks I am not giving up Porzingis. Unless the Cavs want Carmelo Anthony no way he ends up on the Knicks. The Cavs wouldn’t even give up Kevin Love to get Melo, why would they give up Kyrie who has more value than Love to get Melo? Would Minnesota possibly give Wiggins and some picks for Irving? That seems to be the last realistic deal to be made.
People seem to forget that for a trade to go through BOTH teams have to accept the trade. When considering to trade Irving you have to get a player or two back in return who could help the Cavs title chase next year and possibly build for the future. Their may not be a trade out there. With the Suns pulling Jackson out of talks, and if a deal can’t get done with Minnesota to possibly get Wiggins. Irving and the Cavs may be stuck with each other.
The Cavs best option may be to get Irving, James and the Front Office all in a room and figure this situation out.
In the NBA you never get four quarters on the dollar when you trade a star to another team. The Cavs are never going to get equal value for Irving, but I think you have to try to at least get 50 cents on the dollar.
Unless something crazy happens in the next couple weeks I could see Irving right back with the Cavaliers next season. You can add this to all the storyline drama the Cavs have faced the past three years.