Irving’s Shocking News Doesn’t Have To Kill Cavs

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.

JK

 

Don’t Get Excited About James’ Return

The rumors have been rumbling since the beginning of this season.  “Insiders” are hearing that LeBron James will opt out of his contract following the 2013-14 season, and would consider a return to Cleveland.

Because the Cavs now have another “superstar” in Kyrie Irving, a move back to northeastern Ohio would be appealing to James.

Let’s just say if it happens, then it will be time to get excited about it.  Until then, remember LBJ has a player who stabbed this franchise and this city right in the heart.

Therefore, there should be no big celebration when the Miami Heat come to Quicken Loans Arena to play the Cavaliers in March.  James should be treated as the reason basketball fans have suffered through three terrible seasons in a row.

If Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert wants him back and the two parties make amends, then fine.  When he wears the wine and gold jersey again, then he deserves our support.

The whole “back to Cleveland” scenario sounds like a ploy by James’ people to garner support for him, therefore not getting a chorus of boos when he plays at “The Q” as a visiting player.

Also, James’ marketing people are from around here and supposedly aren’t happy that they don’t have the run of the house in Miami that they did when LeBron was here.  And for the most part, they are the ones floating the idea of coming back to the north coast.

From a basketball standpoint, think about this scenario:  The Heat go one to win another title this season and then complete a “three peat” by winning again next season.  Do you really think James is leaving a squad that has won three consecutive championships?

Of course he isn’t.

Don’t like that one?  Here’s another:  Kobe Bryant retires after the 2013-14 campaign and the Lakers are looking for another superstar to solidify their status as one of the sports’ preeminent franchises.  Does James succumb to the Laker mystique and signs with Los Angeles?  It would be very tempting.

The Cavaliers have to be in a position to contend for a title for James to even consider coming back.  And right now, it will be tough for the wine and gold to win 25 games this season, meaning a leap to the .500 mark next season will mean an additional 15 victories.  Yes, there will be plenty of players hitting their second and third years in the NBA, but that is a rather large jump in the victory column in one year.

GM Chris Grant should continue to build the Cavs like he has, accumulating draft picks and keeping plenty of cap room so his team can be a player if an all-star type player comes available because his current team needs payroll relief.

Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to strike draft gold in this summer’s draft either.  Cleveland means another difference maker on the team.  Perhaps Dion Waiters can be that guy, but it looks like he’ll be a good player, not an all-star, at this point.

This isn’t to say LeBron James won’t come back to the Cavaliers after the 2014 season.  He may, perhaps he does miss northern Ohio more than we think.

However, he’s the one who kicked us below the belt.  To beg for him to return to the wine and gold just makes Cleveland sports fans appear totally weak.

JK