Was last season’s run to the finals the last of the Big Three Cleveland Cavaliers era? If the rumors of Kyrie Irving demanding a trade are true, we’re probably looking at a whole new team very soon, and with it a completely new Eastern Conference.
After reports surfaced of Irving demanding a trade out of Cleveland, his agent confirmed that there were talks between himself and the Cavaliers brass. This continues a rough summer for the Cavaliers, who tried closing the gap between themselves and the Golden State Warriors by offering Kevin Love through three-team deals, hoping to land Paul George. Furthermore, general manager David Griffin left the team, LeBron James stopped recruiting players in what seems like a strong indication that he’s leaving in 2018, while the Cavaliers have a salary cap jam and are in luxury tax purgatory.
Two things happened after the news broke out: The memes making fun of the Cavaliers and LeBron as well as Kyrie for previously making comments about never leaving, and theories about what trades the Cavaliers can make. John Wall was the name most people mentioned, although I don’t see any reason for the Wizards to accept such a trade. I’m not sure Irving puts them in a better position for the future than Wall. From Irving’s side of things, he wants a trade that puts him in San Antonio with the Spurs and Gregg Popovich. Other teams mentioned by various sources are the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks. Irving has two more years on his deal worth $38 million, and his 2020-2021 season is a player option worth $21.3 million, which he’ll probably decline to sign a much bigger contract.
The better trade for the Cavaliers would be finding a place to put LeBron James in. As absurd as it sounds, it seems Sterling is tired of paying so much money in luxury taxes while James acts as if his owner isn’t doing enough to improve the team. James and his agent drew up the Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith contracts. It did win a championship for Cleveland, but it seems that this roster has done what it can, and with no real room for improvement, it might be time to start something new.
As things develop, new angles on this story will emerge. For now, it seems like the 2014-2017 Cleveland Cavaliers, 3-time finalists and 1-time NBA champions, are on their way towards getting dissolved and opening up the Eastern conference to competition.
The first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Irving has played 6 seasons with the Cavaliers. The 25-year old is a 4-time All-Star, averaging 21.6 points and 5.5 assists per game since entering the league.