NBA source said today: “This will be LeBron’s final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair.”
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) August 16, 2017
It is common knowledge that the Cavs’ All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving wants out. Hearing that news shocked the NBA and most of its fans. The Cavaliers have been to the NBA Finals for three years in a row now, and won once. There would be no reason to leave a team that is almost guaranteed to make the Finals each and every year, until you hear his reasoning for wanting to leave. He just wants to be the main man on his own team, and he can’t be that with four-time league MVP LeBron on the team.
When Cleveland’s very own James left the franchise back in 2011 to join Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in sunny south beach, the Cavs had to begin their rebuild and basically change their entire team around.
The Cavaliers, with the uncertainty of LeBron James in 2018, are targeting young players in a potential Kyrie Irving trade. pic.twitter.com/oO5dYmreJl
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 15, 2017
In that time span when James was in Miami, the Cavaliers were stocking up on high draft picks and building around young talent. The team picking Kyrie Irving with the 1st pick and Tristan Thompson with the 4th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Dion Waiters with the 4th pick in 2012, and Anthony Bennett with the 1st overall pick in 2013, proves just this.
In 2014, James made another decision and a promise to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland, a piece of silverware the town has been craving for 52 years. In 2016, he did just that, defeating the Golden State Warriors in seven games. LeBron has fulfilled his promise and it’s time for him to move on to pastures new.
With a player option embedded in his lucrative contract at the end of the 2017/18 season, the common consensus is that he will most likely decline it to become an unrestricted free agent.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) August 15, 2017
The Cavaliers need to think long and hard about what they want to do regarding the future of their franchise. They could trade Irving now, and compared to what teams are getting for players like Jimmy Butler and Paul George, which might not be what they want. Or, they could keep Irving and hope to get to the Finals once more, but it may be harder than last year with the Boston Celtics getting better and the Washington Wizards emerging as threats.
It would be smart for Cleveland to trade Irving sooner rather than later, as it would be best for the organization to trade him while his value his high, instead of letting him walk for nothing once he becomes a free agent.