Leaving LeBron James isn't the best career move
The NBA summer of 2017 hit a fever pitch Saturday with Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving requesting a trade because he wants to be "the man."
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Irving wants to be the center of a team and no longer desires to play alongside LeBron James, which is ludicrous.
After being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 draft, the Cavaliers had four losing seasons with Irving on board and zero playoff appearances in the Eastern Conference, which is widely considered inferior in comparison to the juggernaut that is the Western Conference. Even though the team was struggling, he signed a five-year extension with the team in 2014 for a cool $90 million
Naturally, Irving saw himself as the face of the franchise after signing a contract of that magnitude. Later in the summer of 2014, James returned home to Cleveland, drastically altering the team's dynamic. The Cavaliers also traded for All-Star forward Kevin Love not long after James' arrival.
Since the arrival of James and Love, all Cleveland has done is win, collecting three Eastern Conference banners in a row and the 2015-2016 NBA title.
After the team clinched its third straight NBA Finals appearance, Irving sung the praises of his partnership with James.
"When you get to that level of trust and you allow someone to come into a friendship that extends well off the court," Irving said, "and you understand how great this era can be if we are selfless to the point where we don't think about anything else except for the greatness of our team and what we can accomplish."
Irving sounded like a man appreciating the situation he fell into, being teammates with one of the five best basketball players ever to step foot on the hardwood. That's the perfect mindset to have when being a teammate of LeBron James.
After failing to repeat as champions against one of the most loaded teams the NBA has ever seen in the Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry-led Warriors, Irving somehow thinks it's a good idea to leave James.
Even though James has the higher profile, it was Irving who averaged a career-high 25.1 points per game last season. James also deferred to Irving in the clutch, allowing him to take what The Wall Street Journal has deemed "the biggest shot in NBA history," the step-back three-pointer over Curry that sealed Cleveland's monumental upset of the 73-win Golden State Warriors and the team's first NBA championship.
However, it looks like a near-automatic NBA Finals berth is not enough for Irving. Instead of chasing championships, it appears he would more content chasing scoring titles and other personal achievements, like Russell Westbrook's league record for triple-doubles in a single season.
Irving should look no further than Westbrook's MVP season last year as clear-cut evidence for wanting to stay with James in Cleveland. Westbrook averaged a triple double, putting up 31.6 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and 10.4 assists per game. All those gaudy numbers netted him one playoff victory and a first round defeat at the hands of the Houston Rockets. Read More