According to CBS Sports, Kyrie Irving first asked to be traded over a month ago, to join up with Jimmy Butler in Chicago. Of course, we all know that on Draft Day, Butler was dealt to Minnesota.
Reports surfaced last week that Irving again asked to be traded, this time, the world found out. These reports have led to an open feud between Irving and LeBron James, who now, along with subliminal Instagram posts, reportedly wants to “beat Kyrie’s ass”, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. It would appear that there will not be any reconciliation between these two.
Then LeBron took to Twitter to defend himself on the quote:
So there are the facts. Open feuding on the East’s best team, between their two superstar players. With camp opening in about 6 weeks, one has to wonder what the resolution will be. For the correct answer, look no further than the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers, who had a young superstar named Kobe Bryant, and a premier, albeit older, Shaquille O’Neal. The Lake Show elected to trade the older O’Neal, which ultimately set them up for success and two more championships with Bryant at the helm in 2009 and 2010. O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat where he showed Dwayne Wade how to win it all in 2006.
Cleveland and new GM Koby Altman should take a page from the Lakers championship pedigree and keep the younger Irving, while parting ways with James, who can join free agency in a year regardless. This makes sense for two reasons. One, Cleveland has no leverage while negotiating with other teams about Kyrie, since they know that he wants to leave. Second, LeBron is the best player in the world and will command a higher return than anyone else in the league. I look at teams with assets like the Clippers, Lakers, and Knicks as potential landing spots, as well as spots where he would be intrigued to stay long term.
Realistically though, none of this will happen because Dan Gilbert is still the owner and is incapable of putting this team in position to succeed. LeBron will stay in Cleveland, probably win the East again, and Kyrie will move on to what he thinks are greener pastures, until he realizes that he cannot win on his own and needs other superstars in order to be successful. One has to wonder what in the world is going on in Irving’s head right now. Is he that insane that he thinks that he can beat the Golden State Warriors with no one else around him? He cannot even beat them with the best player in the world on his team, now he wants to be the centerpiece for teams that can only afford him by moving their current stars. Unfortunately for Irving, leaving ‘Believeland’, means leaving your only chance to win another championship. I guess for some players, one is enough, but not for the greats like MJ, Kobe, Kareem, Magic, and oh yeah, LeBron.