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The NBA, for lack of better words, is a league that caters to their superstars either with compensation or with media attention. Most recently, Kyrie Irving requested to be dealt from the Cleveland Cavaliers which sent the NBA into a frenzy as to why he would not want to stay with the eastern conference favorite. Superstars have all the pull in the NBA, now it’s Irving’s time to dig in his heels and get what he wants.
How would you feel to always be labeled as the little brother, the Robin to someone else’s Batman, the second option? That’s the life that Irving has endured since LeBron James’ return to Cleveland in 2014. We get it, the Cavaliers were abysmal with Irving was the frontrunner of the squad, but he was only 19 years old. His game and mindset have matured, leading him to average 25 points per game and the Cavaliers to their third championship appearance in a row. Irving listed the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat as his favorable trade destinations. But one thing we know is, if you ask, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive unless you’re the star player.
Dave McMenamin reported on ESPN from Cavalier’s sources that “Much of Irving’s disenchantment with James was rooted in game play, controlled the ball more than any other forward perhaps in league history,” Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst explained how the relationship between Irving and James shifted. “The ball was out of Irving’s hands more than he preferred. Irving led the Cavs in shots in the 2016-17 season, averaging 1.5 more per game than James, and Irving averaged a career-high 25.9 points. It was the first time in James’ career he didn’t lead his team in shots per game.”
Irving listed the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat as his favorable trade destinations. But one thing we know is, if you ask, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive unless you’re the star player.
The Knicks appear to be the most favorable option because they have the most to offer in a deal, primarily Carmelo Anthony. But, if the Cavaliers want to go young and add to their struggling bench, maybe the star for star swap isn’t in their best interest. Over the weekend, James announced that he will not waive his no-trade clause for any team, solidifying his stay with the Cavaliers for at least one more season. Irving is now left with an interesting situation of being an automatic title contender or be the man elsewhere?
Let’s be clear, this situation is not Shaq and Kobe, but there is a superstar power struggle in Cleveland. For those who don’t believe that Irving can evolve a franchise into a championship contender, look back to the 2015 NBA Finals. If you want, look back to the 2016 NBA Finals, Irving’s imprint was all over the series respectively. When he missed the series in 2015 many believed they would’ve won with him, in 2016 their championship was claimed, so you be the judge. Ultimately, don’t be mad at Irving for wanting to ascend an organization and receive the credit for it. Afterall, Robin never had his own anything except for a mess, Irving would rather be Nightwing.