Almost a month ago, US media outlets reported Kyrie Irving requested to be traded out of Cleveland, away from Lebron James, preferably to the Spurs, the Timberwolves, the Heat or the Knicks.
Until now, August 22, Irving is still a Cavalier and a teammate of Lebron.
Even with the length of time passed since this trade request was made; it is still tough to see what’s really going on with them Cavs, Lebron, and Kyrie.
Irving was said to made his request confidential to the front office but somebody, believed to be the James camp according to the Irving camp, leaked it out to the press.
The Cavaliers have already tied up their salary cap to their current roster for the next two years.
According to ESPN, James has a $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season, which means he’s free to test the unrestricted free-agency market after the 2017-18 season ends. He’s made it clear he will not waive his no-trade clause.
Irving has three years and $60 million left on his contract, but he can opt out of the final year, before the 2019-20 season commences. Irving’s contract contains a 15 percent trade bonus that would pay him an additional $2.9 million in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
If Irving is traded, he will give up the chance to qualify for and sign a supermax contract with the Cavs in 2019. The supermax provision was installed in the collective bargaining agreement to deter star players from leaving their teams after their eighth or ninth season, when they’re typically signing their third contract.
Kevin Love is signed for the next three years for $22.6M, $24.1M, and $25.6M, the last at the option of Love.
Tristan Thompson is signed through the 2019-21 seasons at an amount of $16.4M, $17.7M and $18.7M, respectively. J.R. Smith is signed at $13.8, $14.5M and $15.5M per season, respectively, also through the 2019-21 seasons.
Iman Shumpert is signed for the next two years $10.3 and $11M in the second year if Shumpert exercises his option Kyle Korver is signed for the next three years for an average of $7.5M per season.
The Cavaliers parted with last season’s general manager, David Griffin, and promoted assistant general manager Koby Altman to GM. Griffin sided with Irving’s selection to demand for a trade.
This situation really puts Cleveland in a mess.
James ignited the instability by not committing long term for the Cavs. If he leaves after this season, it will probably take the Cavs at least two more years to completely revamp or rebuild the line-up into a championship contender.
Irving, who already got the Cavs in a bind by limiting his trade destinations despite not having a no-trade clause, further limited Cleveland’s options by his refusal to commit long-term to any teams he is traded for, even the ones he mentioned as his preferred destinations.
The Cavaliers want a King’s ransom for Irving, and rightly so. Problem is, teams are seemingly afraid to open the bank for Irving because of his inability to commit long-term for the team that get him.
Brilliant or not?
Opinions are split with Irving’s trade request, ranging from Charles Barkley calling the move stupid to Ex-GM Griffin calling the move courageous.
We may not know the truthful reasons that lead to this incident until all protagonists are retired.
If Irving indeed wants out because of the uncertain future of the Cavaliers and wants to lead a team like the Knicks as the alpha male, then that would be a refreshing sight to all the combining of talent movement that is happening just to get a championship.
Or he might just not want to be tied with whatever James will be doing next year, so he is attempting to dictate his early separation from such possibility.
Otherwise, he is putting too much premium on himself and might be better off playing second fiddle to another alpha male.
The Cavs embraced their prodigal son with open arms at the expenses of their “loyal” son. They anoint Irving to become the face of the franchise only to change their minds within two weeks of signing him long-term when the surprise bearer James finally announced he is going back home. It could now be an expensive change of mind as new events now unfold before their eyes.
As for James, he is now getting a taste of his medicine. He bailed for Miami, forced his way for the accumulation of talents that would play with him in his pursuit for championships and promises not one, not two, no three,… not seven crowns only to leave after four years and two titles.
His second stint with Cleveland is taking the same path. He forces the signing of Love, Thompson, Smith, Shumpert, and Korver but will not commit for the long term and opens the possibility of bailing out after just one title when things doesn’t go his way.
Now, that stunt seems to have something to do for somebody significant in the rotation beating him to the gun and wanting to leave him for good.
For now is playing with and for Lebron will always give one a great chance to win multiple championships but also often comes at a hefty price given the way he always attracts drama and non-commitments to long-term goals of the organization he goes.
Cleveland may have found that out quite a little late.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS