I told my cowriters here at SFE that’d I’d be predicting where Kyrie ends up now that he wants out of Cleveland. I lied. Well, I changed my mind. Sure he could end up on some younger team where he’d be the focal point of the offense, but I’ll leave that debate up to you guys. I am more interested in what this means for LeBron and Kyrie, and what the Land should actually want.
Per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Kyrie has requested to be traded from The Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving is tired of playing under LeBron James, and he wants to be somewhere where he is the focal point of the offense. This reportedly blindsided LeBron James, but more so, us fans.
The Cavaliers are currently set up for Chapter Four against the Warriors in the Finals. The weakest the East has ever been means an even sweeter cakewalk to the NBA Finals. This may all change with such a monumental trade.
Where should Kyrie go?
Kyrie? Kyrie Irving should be convinced to stay in Cleveland, barring the trade of… I can’t believe I’m going to say this… LeBron James. As of now, the Cavs chances in a Warriors rematch are smaller than ever. The Warriors have added sharpshooter Nick Young, and there is now a year of experience under the belts of the big four. Would I want to keep a trade asset like LeBron James until his contract expires and he leaves? A guy whose best years are behind him? A guy who’s clearly losing the locker room? No. You trade LeBron James now, and get young assets to rebuild around your young superstar point guard.
Obviously, the trade has to be at the right price, but I think a lot of teams are willing to make such a monstrous trade. Maybe it’s a trade with the Lakers. Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and some pick currency for LeBron James? Yes, you’d lose LeBron James. Yes, it may not be a guaranteed trip to the Finals anymore, but where would LeBron be going? The West. A trade like this with a Western Conference team would make the Warriors competition even stronger, while keeping the East weak. A lineup like this:
PG Kyrie Irving
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF Brandon Ingram
PF Kevin Love
C Tristan Thompson
with guys like JR Smith, Kyle Korver, and Iman Shumpert coming off the bench, has every chance to still come out on top of the “Leastern” Conference. This move would also set up the Cavaliers for seasons to come.
It Won’t Happen
At the end of the day, a trade like this will probably never happen. I could only imagine the riots that would collapse the City of Cleveland if a trade involving LeBron went through. LeBron James is still the best player in the world, and any team with the King has a chance to win a championship. It also seems that Kyrie Irving is not only fed up with LeBron, but also fed up with the organization. It’s a shame, but Kyrie wants out. I’m not sure what return they could get for Kyrie to keep the Cavs talented, but it looks like Kyrie is defecting from the Land.
What Does This Mean for LeBron James?
To me, this trade would mark the end of LeBron James’s reign, at least in Cleveland. Unless they get some massive haul for Kyrie Irving, I simply do not see the Cavaliers being as competitive without his lethal mamba-mentality. Sure the Cavaliers would still have the best chance to come out of the East, but there are no more rings coming to Cleveland anytime soon.
LeBron James is also more likely to leave the Land in 2018 than ever before. He won the Championship for his hometown, but now he can focus on chasing the ghost.
Speaking of the ghost, LeBron James’s chase for Michael Jordan’s legacy as the GOAT has officially come to an end in my book. I don’t even see Magic Johnson as willing to trade as many assets or destroy as much of the cap as the Cavaliers did under the King’s reign. LeBron is highly unlikely to win another MVP, NBA Finals, or NBA Finals MVP. Without anymore of those accolades, LeBron James may just have to settle for second place, a spot on the podium that he is already familiar with.
Likely Landing Spots for Kyrie Irving
Okay, I’ll talk about it. Apparently Kyrie’s preferred destination is San Antonio. How this deal would get done, I don’t know. The Cavs don’t need big men like Pau Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge, and I can’t imagine the Spurs even considering trading Kawhi Leonard. Maybe the Cavs now have a way to trade for Carmelo Anthony; feel free to throw up with me. The Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves are also teams Irving is reportedly willing to join. To me, the TWolves have the most currency to trade for Kyrie; perhaps SF Andrew Wiggins and PG Jeff Teague would be enough (3 months from now since Jeff Teague just signed a new deal).