Kyrie Irving Wants Out of Cleveland
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving has reportedly asked to be traded, essentially so he can be the go to guy on a team and escape the shadow of LeBron James. LeBron was said to be “blindsided” and surprised by Irving’s request, a reaction no doubt shared by thousands of Cavaliers fans.
Irving was a huge part of Cleveland’s NBA Eastern Conference champions from last season, as well as for the Cavaliers’ NBA champion team from the season before. Last season he averaged 25.2 points and 5.8 assist per game. He does have some teams in mind, including the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Miami Heat. His preferred choice is the San Antonio Spurs. Last season, the Spurs had the second best regular season record in the NBA at 61-21, trailing only eventual champion Golden State (67-15). Imagine the potential for the Spurs if they could add Irving without having to trade away key players to get him. With the trade request made public, such a scenario may be plausible, although with four teams in the running there should be some competition in the market. The Knicks, for example, could offer a package with Carmello Anthony, whom they want to get rid of anyway (although Anthony will probably end up in Houston).
Looking farther ahead, LeBron can opt out of the remainder of his contract after next season. He came back to Cleveland to win NBA championships with the Cavaliers after his messy departure for Miami after the 2009-10 season. He has won one championship with the Cavaliers and has been to the Finals two other times. If the team declines next year with Irving gone, we’re figuring LeBron, who turns 33 in December, may want to go somewhere where he can win without going through a multi year rebuilding program.
Here’s Kyrie Irving scoring a career playoff high of 42 points last season in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics: