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(From July 24, 2017)
Kyrie Irving told reporters at the All-Star Game in February that the Earth is flat.
Later, Irving said he was merely trying to make a point, though that point was never made clear.
During an interview last week, Irving said something about buying some farm land and starting his own community.
A few days after that came the shocker of a report that Irving has asked the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him.
Seriously. He reportedly wants out.
This after three straight trips to the Finals. This after teaming up with LeBron James and Kevin Love to form the baddest Big Three in all the East. This after hitting the most crucial 3-pointer in franchise history — in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals to defeat the Golden State Warriors.
Why would Irving want out?
Get this: Because of James.
Honest. That’s what is being reported. Irving has grown tired of playing alongside a man who has won three titles and reached seven straight Finals. Seven straight. And Kyrie has been a part of three of them.
It used to be that players wanted a trade when things weren’t going well. Their teams stunk, they weren’t getting enough shots, or even in these days of huge money, they didn’t like their contracts.
Irving has played for a constant contender, led the Cavs in shots attempted, and has three years and around $60 million left on his current deal.
All the boxes are wonderfully checked.
Unless you’re Irving — and his reported reasons for wanting to leave make no sense. Then again, for about the past three months, making much sense hasn’t been Irving’s strong suit.
For better or worse, today’s NBA world has been dominated by stars wanting to hook up with other stars. LeBron left for Miami. Kevin Durant went from Oklahoma City to Golden State. On and on it goes.
But Irving? Well, he wants LESS star power. He doesn’t want to be in LeBron’s shadow. He wants to run his own team. He wants to be The Man.
At least, that’s what the reports say.
And if it is none of those things, then Irving wants to join players he considers his friends — even at the cost of competing for championships.
Basically, Kyrie apparently wants to get away from LeBron and the Cavs so badly, he’s willing to lose.
Considering Irving supposedly included New York and Miami on his wish list of next destinations, well, that statement really isn’t so far-fetched.
MAKE THE CALL
Some of this could, in a strange way, be good news for Cavs fans.
Some of this could mean that James is planning to stay for the long haul, beyond free agency in 2018, and Irving knows it.
After all, why else would Irving leave? If he truly wants a team to call his own, couldn’t he just wait a year, until LeBron bolts? The Cavs would be Irving’s and Irving’s alone.
But if LeBron doesn’t leave … well, it will continue to be James’ team. And that is apparently something Irving can’t handle.
So owner Dan Gilbert, general-manager-in-waiting Koby Altman and the Cavs should consider all of this. They should consider that Irving wants winning to come easily, or not at all.
Irving doesn’t want anyone on the team to be a better player than him, or even his equal.
If you’re the Cavs, is that type of player you want? Are those the type of players you should put next to a winner such as James?
It’s not fair to James, it’s not fair to the franchise, and it’s not even fair to Irving. If winning isn’t the most important thing to him, then by all means, the Cavs need to move on.
They need to find the best deal sometime between now and training camp, pull the trigger, and as sad as it may be, say goodbye to Irving.
With James as its leader, this team can still be all about winning, and winning a lot. And frankly, anyone who wants it to be about something else needs to go.