Kyrie Irving has requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sources have speculated that Irving wants to be the top dog on his own team. With LeBron James in Cleveland, Irving will never be the top dog. There have been other rumors surrounding Irving’s trade request. Some have speculated that he wants out of Cleveland because he sees the writing on the wall. With LeBron’s impending free agency after the season, Irving might want to jump ship before the King bolts to another team. Some have even speculated that Irving wants to leave because he doesn’t like playing with LeBron. If that’s the case, Irving needs to check his ego. LeBron is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. He’s someone that every player should want to play with. LeBron isn’t selfish; he always makes the right basketball play. Irving had a higher usage rate than LeBron, which is proof that James is comfortable taking a back seat at times to help his team and teammates. No matter what Kyrie’s reasons are for wanting out of Cleveland, he is extremely delusional about his talents and the situation.
Kyrie Irving is a fantastic offensive player. But his style and flair for the dramatic cause people to overrate his impact on a basketball court. Irving isn’t just a score-first point guard, he’s a score-only point guard. He isn’t a great passer and doesn’t make his teammates better, which is something that is expected out of all point guards. He is a terrible defender, which especially hurts the Cavaliers when they face the Warriors. Defense is all about athleticism, effort, and competence. Irving is a good athlete, so his defensive limitations are due to his inconsistent motor and lack of defensive awareness. Brady Klopfer of BBALLBREAKDOWN compared Irving’s defense to watching a Labrador when three tennis balls are thrown in different directions. Essentially, he has no idea what he’s doing. Irving is an isolation scorer that doesn’t do anything else to help his team. He sees himself as a top ten player, but he’s basically a top thirty player.
Not to say that Irving isn’t valuable, but he’s not someone that you can build your team around. He’s a second or third piece on a championship team. If Kyrie wants to be the top dog, then he’s either delusional about his skills or doesn’t care about winning. Either way, that’s a giant red flag. Teams should take that into consideration before trading for him. Irving listed four teams that he’d like to be traded to: San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, or New York Knicks. If Kyrie wants his own team, then why would he want to join the Spurs or Timberwolves? Irving would be second fiddle to Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio. Irving may even be a third wheel in Minnesota behind Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. He’d have his own team in Miami, which seems like a logical destination. He can stay in the talent-depleted Eastern Conference and play for a storied franchise that has playoff aspirations in 2018. If he went to New York, he’d play for a storied franchise that is likely a few years away from contending for a playoff spot. He’d probably be the top dog right away, but might need to take a backseat to Kristaps Porzingis if he continues to develop. The only reason to go to New York is for the limelight, which would prove that he cares more about his ego than winning.
The only problem with Kyrie’s wish list is that it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have a no trade clause, so Cleveland can send him wherever they want. They don’t even have to trade Irving, he’s under contract until the 2019 season. It’s not exactly clear why Irving wants a trade right now. He’d be smart to wait out the season and try to compete with the Warriors. If LeBron leaves after the season, then he can ask for a trade. He’d be in the same position, but he wouldn’t be seen as a traitor. No matter the reason for this trade request, Kyrie Irving has proven that he’s completely delusional.