Well, I guess this isn’t a rumor as it was requested by Kyrie Irving.
Put it this way, I wasn’t impressed by the guy at Duke, who didn’t even suit up for double-digit games. In a way, he kind of found his way to the league form high school, playing minimal games for Coach K.
He got his opportunity for a few years to be the man in Cleveland. LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, the Cavaliers struggled, and selected Irving #1 overall. Irving went on to win Rookie of the Year in 2012 and named an All Star three times, but did not lead the Cavs to the postseason until The King’s homecoming. One title and three Finals’ appearances later, Irving wants more shine.
He’s in the perfect situation for his playing style. Sure, James controls every game with his decision-making, but Irving actually had the ball in his hands more than James did last season. If I recall correctly, Irving’s percentage was in the low 30s while James was in the high 20s. Like 33% to 27% or something along those lines. Although capable, Irving isn’t the one dropping dimes. He’s the guy that goes off by playing isolation basketball. If anything, he should be thankful that James is the main distributor on the team so he can keep putting up contested and miraculous shots. He does have smooth, elite handles.
Teammate Richard Jefferson shared some interesting thoughts, where he touched on Irving taking his lumps in between James’ stints in Cleveland, playing for 3 different head coaches, and looking for stability. The front office hasn’t been run very well, James will be a free agent again next summer, but I still think the player has some maturing to do. At least the Kobe & Shaq fallout, or the final straw, came after a three-peat.
Phoenix is a team that has come up because of James’ relationship with Eric Bledsoe. After just signing Jeff Teague, I don’t believe Minnesota can trade him until the deadline, but please fact check that if you wish. Miami is a better destination than New York, by far, and we all know how Pat Riley likes to make moves. The Knicks, I just don’t get it. That’s like reliving Carmelo Anthony’s tenure, which is about to conclude, or so we think. San Antonio would become legitimate contenders again if they could pull it off, pairing Irving with Kawhi Leonard. But, a third team would likely be needed to take on LaMarcus Aldridge’s contract, and to offer the Cavs something that they actually want for a player of Irving’s caliber. Bear in mind, Aldridge is entering the final year of his deal.
Last offseason I made some player comparisons. One of which was stating that I rank Damian Lillard higher than Irving. The Portland Trail Blazer is capable of scoring in bunches just like Irving, plus he gets teammates more involved and competes on the defensive end. Not to discredit Irving’s talent and what he’s done up to this point, I just buy Lilliard as the better team player. One on one, it’s hard to argue against Irving, but the NBA plays 5 on 5.
Lillard was interviewed the other day and he mentioned that he would love to go to The Finals three years in a row. He also stated that he doesn’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to play with James and go to The Finals every year. Cleveland should have called Portland well before this article, even with the addition of Derrick Rose. However, since the former MVP has joined a living legend, they may be looking to acquire a standout wing player. Of course, those are hard to find.
As orchestrated, the Cavs have spot-up shooters and rebounders. A two-way wing player is on every team’s menu, but not every team has Irving to trade for one. Jimmy Butler and Paul George have been shipped to the Western Conference, both of which the Cavs showed interest and flirted with trading Irving for. Kentavius Caldwell-Pope also headed out West to the Lakers. Gordon Hayward signed on with Boston, making them the only threat in the East, but a formidable one to give the Cavs a run for their money. The only standout wing player entering his contract season is 36-year-old Joe Johnson.
After looking around the league, I really only see Carmelo Anthony or Lillard as the best options out there. Some people are saying that the Cavs need to find someone who can defend Kevin Durant. I say, K.D. and LBJ will tango for the majority of the time in a possible rematch. The difference being, Golden State has enough bodies to give K.D. a break from guarding James.
Who knows if Portland would even entertain shipping Lillard away for a disgruntled player in Irving. Melo would certainly help with keeping up with the Warriors in terms of scoring. The combination of Rose, and possibly adding Anthony, should help keep them competitive with the Warriors. I still think the Cavs need some defensive help in order to get revenge and even up with the Dubs in titles. Perhaps, by trying to acquire Joakim Noah in a package along with Melo, just one of many ideas.