It was certainly unbelievable Friday afternoon when word come out that Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
We have said for a long time that it was not a good thing when Irving started talking to former Laker star Kobe Bryant.
After all, Bryant was so self involved as a player that he ran off the most dominant player in the sport, Shaquille O’Neal, after the 2003-04 season, after a stretch where they won three titles and made four Finals appearances in five years.
The Lakers missed the playoffs the following season, and it took Los Angeles four years before they got to The Finals again, and five before they won another title.
By the way, the Lakers never won a title in a season where Bryant led them in win shares.
So, Irving can add another thing in common with Bryant, perhaps the most selfish superstar of his generation. He wants to separate himself from the most dominant player currently playing in the NBA, LeBron James.
Irving is certainly a gifted player, but he is far from perfect, although his shot gave the Cavaliers a championship, which makes a lot of fans forgive the weaknesses he has in his game.
His lack of effort on defense is one reason he is not considered one of the sport’s best point guards. In fact, if you are honest, you would rank him 6th or 7th in the league at his position.
And let’s face it, the ball sticks in his hands on offense, and is a primary reason the Cavs struggle when James is out of the game. For the most part, The King moves the ball. Yes, there are still times when he dribbles excessively too, but not like Kyrie when LeBron is on the bench.
In those moments, Irving appears to feel like he must take every shot, passing only when he exhausts every option to get his shot off.
You would think with two other all stars on the floor, the wine and gold should function well with LBJ not playing, but since Irving seems to rarely find Kevin Love on the court, the Cavs struggle in those situations.
This doesn’t need to be the end of the Cavs’ run to The Finals. In fact, it could be the opportunity they need to improve the team and change the dynamic of the roster.
They may be able get more of a traditional point guard, and a better defender at the position and add help in other areas.
Let’s say you can replace Irving with Phoenix’ Eric Bledsoe (21.1 PPG, 6.3 APG), and you can get another very good young player, or perhaps find a way to get Carmelo Anthony, and still sign Derrick Rose as a free agent.
Of course, you would probably have to move Iman Shumpert and perhaps Channing Frye, two players the wine and gold have been looking to move anyway, as well.
Isn’t the Cavaliers roster a little stronger?
LeBron James might be a demanding teammate, but wouldn’t it be better for Irving’s career if he was the second best player on a team that made four straight Finals appearances, and maybe, just maybe won two titles?
Scottie Pippen is considered an all time great, and he was Michael Jordan’s sidekick with the Bulls’ title teams.
That wasn’t good enough for Kobe, err Kyrie Irving. That’s why it’s hard to believe he can return to the Cavaliers.