The Cavs’ offseason drama continues
One of my friends called it the “NBApocalypse.”
Kyrie Irving, who made the biggest shot in Cavaliers’ franchise history, the idol of boys and girls all over Ohio, wants out of Cleveland.
The superstar point guard requested a trade from the Cavaliers last week, and Cleveland’s front office apparently is working to satisfy that request.
So this is how this era ends?
With the Browns of the 1980s, the star players aged and the drafts were bad.
With the Indians of the 90s, it was bad trades, aging players and no real development from the minor leagues.
With the Cavaliers of the last few years — undoubtedly the most successful of the three — it ends because Irving says he’s tired of playing with the King.
I’m not sure if I believe it, but that’s what the reports say.
I wish Irving would have come up with a better excuse, one that would be easier to believe.
Maybe he doesn’t like the Cleveland climate.
Maybe the front office turmoil with the Cavs’ this summer — general manager David Griffin didn’t have his contract renewed, and only Friday did the franchise appear to settle on a replacement — soured Irving.
Maybe the fear of LeBron James abandoning Cleveland for Los Angeles next summer got to him.
Maybe he just likes the restaurants in Minneapolis.
Any of that would be easier to believe than Irving wanting to separate himself from the best player in a generation and a chance at another NBA title.
It’s said Irving wants to be a focal point of a franchise — because being on national TV with the Cavaliers every week and being one of two teams playing in June just isn’t enough exposure for him.
Yeah, it makes very little sense.
But it’s more comprehensible than why the Cavaliers would be obligated to comply to Irving’s wishes.
Irving has two more years and a player option for a third year left on his contract. He has no real leverage to force a trade — other than the threat of being a brooding mess all of next season.
And even if he did that, he’s still probably better than all but one or two point guards in the league.
So why trade him?
When Irving’s demand became public, the Cavs’ ability to get equal value probably dropped. Who is going to give up prime players for a star so self centered? What GM wants to pick up a guy and then worry about adding other stars because it would possibly unseat Irving as that team’s centerpiece?
Maybe the Cavs will trade Irving for Carmelo Anthony and something else.
But to me, that’s not enough.
Irving is not only a dynamic player, he seems at his best when the moments are the biggest.
The 3-pointer he hit June 19, 2016 against the Warriors brought more to Cleveland than a championship. It brought a moment that will be replayed in the minds of every Cavalier fan who saw it for years, and decades, to come.
Irving still has moments like that in him. He’s only 25.
Many have asked why the Cavaliers would keep Irving if he didn’t want to be with the team. If a player’s opinion was all a team ever considered, the Indians would have had no players from 1969-1993.
I do believe Irving will be traded, as early as the beginning of this week. But I don’t want it to happen. Players like him — even unhappy ones — have too much value.
The Cavs may not be able to completely recover from his departure, even if LeBron stays. And this wonderful period of professional basketball in this region likely would end.
Zach Baker is the sports editor for the Advertiser-Tribune
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