Western Courier

Irving says goodbye to Cleveland

Devon Greene, Assistant Sports Editor

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It’s become more obvious than ever in this NBA offseason that life comes at
you fast.
With the less-than-spectacular five game series between the Warriors and the Cavaliers, the dominance of the team in Oakland has left the entire NBA searching for answers. The Warriors’ main opposition was not exempt from the NBA drama of the offseason as their second-best player and potential future of the franchise, Kyrie Irving, blindsided with the organization with trade demands out of the wonderland known as Cleveland, Ohio. Well on Tuesday, Aug. 22, Irving’s trade demands were met as he was sent to the Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics, in return for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the highly sought-after Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick. How did it get to this point? Let’s go back to the very beginning of the young superstar point
guard’s career.

Irving was the number one pick of the 2011 NBA Draft and was a ray of sunshine in the dark wasteland that LeBron James left behind when he took his talents to South Beach
and joined the Miami Heat. After four years of development that allowed for Irving
to form into a force to be reckoned with in Cleveland, James made his triumphant return to Ohio. The revitalized franchise found themselves in their first finals appearance since the wildly outmatched Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. However, an Irving injury left the Cavaliers unable to win their first NBA championship and end the 60-year championship drought that had plagued the city of Cleveland. Next year, the Cavaliers ended that drought in spectacular fashion coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the greatest regular season team we had ever seen in the Golden State Warriors. Then the Warriors got Kevin Durant.

Fast forward a whole season later, and Irving is no longer part of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It came out after the rough NBA finals loss that he wanted to be the “man” and lead his own team. This came as a surprise to everyone in the organization including James. He was reportedly “blindsided, devastated, and disappointed” by Irving’s trade request. At one point James to blows with the 25-year-old point guard.

Irving has proved himself as one of the premier players in the NBA with outstanding performances in the NBA finals. He’s only improved every season that he’s been in the NBA and as a star rises, he wanted to lead his own team. He said he didn’t want to play “son” to James anymore in Cleveland. Teammates playing with James usually have to play this role and hand over the reins to the greatest player in recent memory. Dwyane Wade was the unquestioned leader of the Miami Heat in 2009 before James arrived. Admittedly, this situation was different because James and Wade are best friends and had discussed them joining forces in Miami or Chicago. In the situation with Irving, he was never asked if he wanted James back in Cleveland. Irving was the man in town that was leading his team. He was of course, leading his team to nowhere but, he was the leader. With the arrival of James, Irving would find himself in the playoffs, but he received little credit for his achievements with the stardom and feats of history that James continuously racks up throughout the NBA season and playoffs. Irving originally came out with a list of teams that he preferred to be traded to when his demands first became known. The list included the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and the San Antonio Spurs. This list of teams shocked the NBA world because it seemed he was downsizing from championship contenders to struggling teams like the Knicks and Heat while on the other hand, going to teams that already have alpha-male leaders where he would be in a similar position, sitting in the backseat to another superstar.

The Cavaliers have had one of the worst offseasons in the NBA with their biggest move coming from signing a past his prime, injury-riddled, Derrick Rose and old players like Jeff Green, and Jose Calderon. They also lost their GM David Griffin who had major support from LeBron James. Then they low-balled, sought after Chauncey Billups who was looking to find his first general manager postition in the league. 

The frustration of sitting backseat and an awful offseason finally got to Irving as he asked for the blockbuster trade. Now we are all waiting in  anticipation  the 2017-2018 NBA season as a potential new rivalry sparks between newfound conference rivals Irving
and James.

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Irving says goodbye to Cleveland