After reports of Kyrie Irving requesting for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him surfaced all over the sports world, analysts constantly question the reasoning for his yearning to leave. It was said that Kyrie Irving wants to be a focal point of a team as opposed to LeBron James’ sidekick. While this would be a great opportunity for Kyrie Irving to bloom into an NBA superstar, it would undermine his chances of making the NBA Finals to compete for another championship. While I do believe that Irving does truly seek to be a team’s number one option, there is another aspect to his request.
The core players of the Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving) were able to reach three straight NBA Finals and obtain an NBA Championship. Along with their completed credentials, they are favorites to make it out of the Eastern Conference in order to make the Finals this year as well. According to ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a 62.2% chance to make the 2018 NBA Finals. However, Cleveland has only a 2.2% chance of winning the championship. This is due to the opponent they will be facing in the NBA Finals, The Golden State Warriors. While the Cavaliers do have a good team, the Warriors are simply unstoppable. As we witnessed in last year’s season (2016-2017), the Golden State Warriors had too much star power for anyone else to be crowned victorious. With the dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green as the supporting cast to the second best player in the NBA, Kevin Durant, the Cleveland Cavaliers were left helpless. Even with the signing of Derick Rose, the Cavaliers are still handicapped in comparison to Golden State.
Kyrie Irving has a lot of pride and heart. It is apparent in tight situations that he appears to be one of the only motivated players. As a result, it makes sense that Kyrie Irving would prefer playing for a team built around him in comparison to being a Plan B to LeBron James. However, I feel Irving would be willing to be James’ partner in crime in Cleveland if they had a realistic chance of winning a championship. Looking back at the Finals last year, it is evident that the Cavaliers, even when playing their best basketball, are unable to beat Golden State in a seven game series. LeBron James became the first player in NBA History to average a triple double in the Finals and averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kyrie Irving also played great basketball as he averaged 29.4 points, four assists, and four rebounds. With the great playing ability of these two, Cleveland was only able to beat the Warriors in one game, during which Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and James got a 31-point triple double. Since Irving realizes the team he is facing in the NBA is too superior to defeat, he is seeking another team in pursuit of something else other than a ring: stardom.
It makes perfect sense for Kyrie Irving to want to be the top player on a team. He is unable to defeat the Golden State Warriors with LeBron James on his team. Along with this Irving’s value is diminished due to the force James is for the team. If Kyrie Irving departs to a different team, he can get more publicity and possibly lead his own team to a competitive position. This move is right for Kyrie Irving’s career.